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Publications: HIV/AIDS
The FLEW project - Free to live well with HIV in prison

Example of peer involvement in prison work. The FLEW project (Free to live well with HIV in prison) is the result of collaboration effort between several agencies in Italy. In 2016, 677 people in prison, 107 prison officers, 112 healthcare professionals, 70 educators and office staff, and 28 volunteers were given a questionnaire to assess their knowledge on HIV and HIV transmission. They were also asked to report on the level of stigma attached to HIV among people in prison, prison officers, educators and healthcare professionals.

For example, almost 60% of those interviewed thought that engaging in a fistfight – which can easily lead to bleeding – would not expose them to the risk of HIV transmission.  In 10 prisons across seven Italian regions, educational activities were organised for people in detention, prison officers and educators. A group of peer educators – people living with HIV (PLHIV) who also at some point in their lives were imprisoned – conducted a number of activities aimed at people in detention. Their work was essential to meet the project goals of improving HIV prevention in prisons, fighting stigma, and improving the quality of life of PLHIV. Another innovative element was the introduction of HIV rapid testing in prison settings. Over 650 tests were requested, both by people in detention and prison staff. All appreciated the testing opportunities presented by the project. The methods developed in this project are adaptable to other detention facilities.

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Rafaella Rigoni
Tuukka Tammi
Daan van der Gouwe
Victoria Oberzil
Robert Csak
Eberhard Schatz

Please note: there are various version of this report if you click on the file! 

This is the second civil society-led monitoring report produced by Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN) within the context of our operational grant from the European Commission. The purpose of this report is to enrich the information and knowledge base of harm reduction interventions in Europe from the viewpoint of civil society organisations. We believe that this approach is a necessary, and useful, contribution to the development of drug policy in the region. We learned a lot from the former process and the 2019 edition and modified the approach, the focus and certain questions to enable respondents to report closer to their own experiences. Consequently, the information provided in this report sometimes represents the situation in a particular city or region and informs us as to the experiences of a specific organisation in the field. Such ‘real life’ information can contribute significantly to an understanding of the advantages, barriers and challenges of drug policy. Even stronger, we directly approached representatives of networks and organizations of people who use drugs to share their view on the developments with us. 2020, however, was not a regular year and the world wide pandemic had its influence on people, organisations and the care system in general. Accordingly, we added a section on the impact of COVID-19 on harm reduction services and we will continue to measure this impact. We will use the insights and information collected in this report within our advocacy efforts to strengthen harm reduction policies in Europe and, we hope, our partners and contributors will do the same in their environment at a regional and national level. More than one hundred organisations and individuals from 34 European countries have contributed to the collection of data with an amazingly high response rate; we thank all contributors for their great work and commitment. Without their engagement, this work would never have been undertaken at all. In particular, we would like to thank the authors of this report, Rafaela Rigoni, Tuukka Tammi, Daan van der Gouwe, and Victoria Oberzil, who were supported by the coordinators of the expert groups and the reviewers of this report. We are also grateful to HRI and Robert Czack for contributing with a chapter to this report. A special thanks to Dagmar Hedrich and her EMCDDA colleagues for their ongoing and patient support. We thank the European Commission, DG Sante, for their financial support and to the Regenboog Groep, Amsterdam, for their ongoing support of Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network

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