CAHIV (Croatian Association for HIV and viral hepatitis) is a non-governmental, non-politic, non-profit association founded in 1999 in order to prevent HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases, protection of sexual and reproductive health and to help those suffering from HIV / AIDS and viral hepatitis, and ensure their appropriate medical and social treatment. CAHIV as a professional health association and patient association is focused on prevention, education and helping people who live with HIV/AIDS or viral hepatitis. CAHIV helps all people who live with HIV or hepatitis to solve their problems in terms of medical, social or legal aid, actively takes part in the field of educating young people and general population on HIV and hepatitis and stigma and discrimination related to it. The users of the association are people with HIV and viral hepatitis, their families, health and other professionals and the general population of citizens. Our activities focused exclusively on viral hepatitis are:
HCV testing in CheckPoint center Zagreb
CheckPoint Zagreb opened in 2013 and offers free, anonymous and fast testing for HIV and HCV. Since opening until now 5203 people have been tested for hepatitis C, out of which 56 were positive for HCV antibodies and referred to care.
Check Point Zagreb participates in European testing weeks (spring and autumn).
In 2018. CheckPoint Zagreb has been recognized by WHO as an example of good practice and included in WHO Copendium of good practices in the health sector response to HIV in the WHO European Region.
ECDC has recognized CheckPoint Zagreb as one of the best examples of integrated testing approach for HIV and hepatitis, and included it in Public health guidance on HIV, hepatitis B and C testing in the EU/EEA.
Psychosocial support for hepatitis patients
Since 2011. CAHIV in collaboration with the Infectious Disease Clinic and Reference Centres for Diagnosis and Treatment of HIV and Viral Hepatitis by the Ministry of Health, organizes and provides psychosocial support services, psycho-education and psychological counselling for people living with HIV or viral hepatitis, their close friends and people who suspect they were exposed to the risk. In 2018. our psychologists have provided support to over 800 people, and carried out 1 441 consultations.
According to epidemiological estimates there are over 20 000 undiagnosed cases of viral hepatitis in Croatia. One of the main reasons for this is insufficient scope of tested people, which can be improved by outreach testing activities of targeted populations. Throughout years CAHIV has been carrying out outreach activities (within our financial possibilities) all over Croatia covering IDu counselling and drop-in centres and prison system (all prisons in Croatia). In that period, we counselled and teste several hundreds of people with an average of 30% found HCV positive in IDU centres and 15% in prison system. For next year another outreach activity is planned, which will also include IDU communities and prisons in Croatia.
Educations for medical workers
As a health association, we are focused not only on patients but also on medical workers who sometimes need extra information on HIV and viral hepatitis. Therefore, we organize many educations specifically for medical workers (doctors, medical technicians) regarding ways of transmission of HCV and HIV, professional exposure, and other aspects of these infectious diseases. Our educational programs focus on timely recognition and early diagnosis in the healthcare system and inclusion in the treatment system. We also print and hand out a lot of educational materials, such as: brochures, guidelines, flyers that provide information about hepatitis C.
Most recent brochure intended for medical workers is Can it be hepatitis – guide for early detection of hepatitis C infection distributed throughout health system in Croatia.
Public health campaign for raising awareness about viral hepatitis and marking World Hepatitis Day
Every year before World Hepatitis Day CAHIV coordinates National public health campaign in partnership with many other professionals (Ministry of health, Croatian Public health institute, Infectious Disese Clinic…). The goal every year is to raise awareness on viral hepatitis, to inform general public on new treatment methods (many people still don't know hepatitis C can be successfully treated), to get tested, or simply to educate on this matter. However, hepatitis public campaigns are not always cantered around World hepatitis day, we also put big emphasis on hepatitis during European testing weeks (Spring and Autumn).
Organizing symposiums and conferences on the topic of viral hepatitis
Together with Reference Centre for Diagnosis and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, Public health institute, Infectious Disease Clinic, European Liver Patients Association, Association of hepatitis patients (HEPATOS), CAHIV takes part in expert symposium that takes place every year to mark World Hepatitis Day. The symposium unites experts on viral hepatitis from Croatia who share the newest information on viral hepatitis, such as: new treatments, updated information on the number of infected people, suggestions on how to improve activates for everyone involved in diagnosis, treatment and support for viral hepatitis patients. In the 20 years of existence CAHIV has organized (solely or in partnership with other institutions and associations) over 20 expert gatherings on viral hepatitis.
Mobile app ''All about hepatitis'' and web platform www.hepatitis.hr
Mobile app and web platform ''All about hepatitis'' was developed in 2017 specifically for people who have been diagnosed with viral hepatitis, or are curious to find more about it. It has many options such as: risk calculator for hepatitis B and C, reminder (for check-ups and taking therapy), talk to expert support, frequently asked questions. Application also has various information approved by Public health institute, on viral hepatitis topic. Since the launch it has had over 13 242 screen displays and is used as educational tool as well as by doctors in recommendations for their patients.