ACT UP (France)
Fighting infectious diseases, particularly, HIV/AIDS, is one of the most important problems of the mankind today. NGOs can do a lot in this sphere, and what is more, their actions can considerably contribute to the general success.
The civil society must be not only the participant of the process, but its leader, especially, in the sphere of prevention of infectious diseases dissemination. It can do a lot to form a responsible behavior of a person, inform people about a safe sex, a danger of drug use etc. We talked about it recently within the framework of the anti-AIDS conference held in Moscow.
Russian NGOs, I think, could use the rich experience of their French colleagues. For example, in 1993 about 40 percent of infectious diseases in France were transmitted through syringes used by drug addicts. In 2003 this figure has not only changed – it was no one case of infections transmittance through the use of syringe. And we can say without any exaggeration it was a contribution of NGOs, widely informing the youth about the danger of using non single-use syringes.
The civil society has its special responsibility, because it is usually first to act and the government joins later.