Red Ribbon Award 2012
The Red Ribbon Award is presented every two years at the International AIDS Conference to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding community leadership and action that is helping to stop the spread of HIV and mitigate the impact of AIDS.
This year, one of the Red Ribbon Award winning organization is the Afraye Sabz Association, an Iranian NGO that started its activities in September 2001 focusing on drug use and HIV in Kermanshah Province.
The Afraye Sabz Association has 18 full-time and 20 part-time staff members, and 73 volunteers. The organisation recognises the importance of the greater involvement of has people living with HIV and people who use drugs on in service delivery and therefore they are part of the team. Doctors, engineers, psychologists, lawyers, public health specialists, accountants and nurses volunteer their time to support the work.
Over the years, the Association developed a large number of projects that had a significant impact. Over 1200 students have been trained in the area of HIV prevention in the "Training and empowerment" programmes designed for young people. The "Positive Club" established in 2006, provides services such as counselling, life skills training, reproductive health and vocational training for people living with HIV.
Since 2010, the Afraye Sabz Association, with the support of the Global Fund, in collaboration with the State Welfare Organization and the University of Kermanshah is developing an initiative on HIV prevention treatment and care for people who use drugs. Two Drop In Centres, four outreach teams and one shelter for drug users were established. Harm reduction services are provided to around 170 people who inject drugs, the outreach teams are in contact with 200 people. Also, 25 homeless drug users are accommodated in the shelter each night.
Speaking about the award, Mr. Amiri, the head of the Association: "It has an important effect on reputation and credit of the Association in the country. The authorities are more aware about the work of Afray-e-Sabz. Now we know that HIV prevention among people who use drugs will receive more attention."
For the future, the Afraye Sabz Association plans to establish a specialized centre for youth health and to increase the number of services tailored for people who use drugs.