His Excellency the Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink inaugurated the ART Adherence Unit (AAU) established by Nai Zindagi and supported by Mainline Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The AAU is a two month residential program for 100 residents established in the foothills of the Himalayas, near Islamabad. It is the first program of its kind in Pakistan at this scale, that provides a range of holistic services including psycho-social, counselling, medical and health related services to people who use drugs, are HIV positive and need AIDS medication and treatment (ART).
People in need of AAU services are referred from 25 districts of Punjab and Sind where Nai Zindagi Trust and its partner organisations have established HIV prevention services for people who inject drugs (the main driver of the HIV epidemic in Pakistan) with support from the Global Fund. The primary objective of AAU is to support people affected by HIV and AIDS to adhere to medication, stay healthy and live longer. Key stake holders in country working in the field of HIV and AIDS were present at the function and guests interacted with residents and staff for an improved understanding of the needs and gaps that still need to be addressed.
The ceremony was attended by Dr Marc Saba -UNAIDS Country Coordinator, Pakistan, Ms Machteld from Mainline, Dr Nasir Sarfraz – UNICEF, Mr Satti from APLHIV, representatives of partner NGOs and media.