The National Conference on Innovative Community Based Services for People Living with HIV and AIDS, held in Belgrade, Serbia on 1 December 2017, was also the final activity of two-year project “Towards standardization of community based social service provision for people living with HIV in Serbia”, implemented by the Union of Organizations of Serbia dealing with the protection of people living with HIV and AIDS (USOP) with partners: Žena plus, AID +, Centre AS, Sunce, Crvena linija, Stav + and Nova + (PLHIV associations from Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Subotica and Pančevo). The project is part of the “European Union Support to an Inclusive Society” program, funded and implemented by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ Affairs and Social Affairs through the IPA Program (The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance).
The conference addressed the activities of both civil and government sectors in response to the HIV epidemic, especially when it comes to social care, health care and legal assistance to people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV), but also prevention and the possibility of stopping the spread of infection, as well as reducing stigma and discrimination against this population.
The services are the basic means of achieving the goals of social protection. The Law on Social Protection recognizes five groups of services for which the standards were developed by the project or are in phase of development. In addition to these, other community-based innovative services have been developed in the community to respond to a wide range of people’s needs. One of the innovative services is peer support service for people living with HIV and AIDS offered by activists living with HIV and AIDS.