Russia Professional Development in HIV/AIDS Medicine Project

From October 2007 through December 2012, AIHA collaborated with global pharmaceutical leader GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to train Russian clinicians in effective HIV care practices, including the provision of ART, through the Russia Professional Development in HIV Medicine Project. The overarching goal of the program was to foster a cadre of HIV/AIDS experts and opinion leaders capable of expanding Russia’s clinical knowledge base on HIV treatment and care.

Supported by USAID through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), this public-private partnership represented a model of efficient collaboration among the private, non-governmental, and governmental sectors — all working together to build the human resource capacity necessary for Russia to provide comprehensive, high quality care to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Key objectives of the program included:

  • Strengthening the capacity of Russian medical professionals who provide HIV/AIDS care;
  • Developing a network of highly skilled HIV/AIDS specialists capable of acting as thought leaders and agents of change throughout Russia; and
  • Promoting the use of evidence-based principles in HIV medicine by improving access to clinical resources and facilitating communication among care providers.

In the second year of the project, 24 competitively selected clinicians from 19 Russian regions continued to improve their knowledge and expertise in HIV/AIDS treatment and care through a series of workshops led by international faculty and Russian specialists. These skills-building sessions focused on topics including: managing patients co-infected with tuberculosis, hepatitis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and other opportunistic infections; drug resistance and switching treatment regimens; improving adherence among patients who are active drug users; defining treatment failure; and looking into HIV drug resistance and side effects and interactions of ARVs and other commonly used medications.

Most active program participants were given an opportunity to attend national and international HIV/AIDS conferences, reporting on the most interesting topics and findings to their counterparts during subsequent program workshops.

AIHA developed a website that served as an invaluable resource for participants and other HIV professionals throughout Russia. The interactive site contained a wealth of evidence-based literature and clinical case studies, as well as topical forums, discussion groups, and distance learning modules and e-mail courses on subjects such as evidence-based practice and patient education. Clinicians were able to discuss patient care and seek advice and information from colleagues and experts in Russia and around the world.

Participants provided ART to 3,750 adults and PMTCT services to 356 pregnant women in 2008. By December 2009, those numbers increased to 5,453 and 733 respectively, thus demonstrating the significant impact the program is having on the accessibility of quality HIV care and treatment in the Russian Federation.

Selected accomplishments included:

  • 24 clinical leaders from target regions competitively selected to participate in the five-year-long fellowship program
  • 5 skills-building workshops conducted in Moscow and St. Petersburg
  • 4 interactive distance courses provided to participants
  • 15 clinical cases on numerous HIV-related topics developed jointly by participants and experts and discussed in real-timesessions