Bridging the Gaps: Georgia
Bridging the Gaps: Georgia
Bridging the Gaps is alliance of nine international organisations and networks and more than 80 local and regional organisations, working towards the end of the AIDS epidemic among key populations.
Supported by global and regional level work, Bridging the Gaps works with over 80 partner organisations in 15 countries in three regions:
• Sub-Sahara Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
• South East Asia: Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam.
• Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
In Georgia, the programme works with, and for the health and human rights of people who use drugs, including those living with HIV.
Bridging the Gaps partners in Georgia work towards ending AIDS among key populations through (1) a strengthened civil society that holds government to account; (2) increased fulfilment of human rights of key populations; and (3) increased SRHR and fewer infections.
People who use drugs
Around 6,600 people are living with HIV in Georgia. Georgia has an HIV prevalence of 0.3% among the general population. The HIV epidemic remains a significant public health concern in Georgia. Since 1989, the rate of new HIV diagnoses in the country has been steadily increasing and reached 12.7 per 100,000 in 2014. The latest available evidence indicates that the HIV epidemic is largely concentrated among key populations. A growing concern is the increasing HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM), from 7% in 2010 to 13% in 2012. The Country Report of 2014 further signifies high?risk practices that are common among MSM, for example frequent change of partners and insufficient use of condoms. This calls for significant strengthening of interventions targeting this key population. Around 45,000 people who inject drugs (PWID) are living in Georgia.The estimated HIV prevalence ranges from 0.4% to 9.1% among PWID. The country report of Georgia (2015) shows that the percentage of drug use, as a transmission mode among newly registered HIV cases, decreased from 43.2% in 2012 to 35% in 2013, while heterosexual transmission increased from 44.8% in 2012 to 49% in 2013. Both these trends indicate the growing spread of HIV among the sexual partners of PWID. Data on the magnitude of the HIV problem among male sex workers is limited. This group is included in men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV prevalence among female sex workers (FSWs) ranges from 0.8% to 1.3%. The Georgia HIV law (2009) has improved the overall legal environment for national response, but it has not addressed regulatory barriers for people who use drugs (PWUD) from the criminal code of the country. A strict drug law environment represents a severe obstacle for the effective work of the needle and syringe programme (NSP).
Georgia is among low HIV prevalence countries being at high risk for an expanding epidemic due to widespread injecting drug use and the population movement between Georgia and neighbouring high HIV prevalence countries such as Ukraine and Russia. Since 1997 the number of newly registered cases started to increase and Georgia is one of those very few countries in the world and in the region where the HIV incidence has been increasing steadily during the last decade. The latest available evidence indicate that the HIV epidemic in Georgia is largely concentrated among key populations, including PWUD for which the estimated HIV prevalence is 2.2%.