© UNHCR/A.Webster

Increasing awareness through education

UNHCR promotes and supports universal access to programmes for HIV prevention, and the treatment, care, and support of people with AIDS. Globally, the agency is a co-sponsor of the UNAIDS programme, and a leader in the fight against HIV among refugees and displaced people.

In Central Europe, HIV infection and AIDS among refugees and asylum-seekers are not high. As a result, asylum-seekers and refugees infected with the disease or at risk of contracting it may find it difficult to get information on prevention and treatment. 

To address this problem, UNHCR initiated an information project in Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Romania in 2009, which was later expanded to other countries. The project produced comprehensive multi-lingual information leaflets for asylum-seekers and refugees on how HIV/AIDS can be contracted, prevention measures, and issues such as pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. The literature included the addresses of clinics and facilities where people could be tested and, if necessary, treated.

The flyers were published in languages spoken by the majority of the region’s displaced people, including Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, Georgian, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Swahili and Urdu. Governments helped distribute the material across their respective countries, and information was also posted online for viewing and easy download. 

Literature on HIV and AIDS can now be found in information dispensers at border crossings and airports as part of the agency’s Border Management and Refugee Protection project.

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