AIDS Training and Education Center (ATEC), Saint Petersburg

In 2006, the American International Health Alliance (AIHA)—in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Medical Academy for Post Graduate Studies and affiliated clinical sites at the St. Petersburg AIDS Center and the Ust Izhora Clinical Center for Children and Women with HIV—has established an AIDS Training and Education Center (ATEC) in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This project, which was developed with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by the Russian Federation Ministry of Health and Social Development, represents a key step in the development of a unified framework for Russia’s national efforts to build the health system capacity necessary to provide high-quality care to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

The St. Petersburg ATEC and its affiliated clinical sites will help develop the institutional and human resource capacity the Russian Federation needs to reach its HIV/AIDS care and treatment goals through targeted training for physicians, nurses, and social workers. Training courses will also be conducted for healthcare policymakers and clinic administrators, as well as allied care professionals ranging from psychologists and laboratory technicians to peer counselors and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, to better ensure comprehensive, accessible care for PLWHA.

The new training center will initially focus on building capacity in Altay, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Volgograd, and Leningrad Oblast—all regions that are currently experiencing some of the country’s fastest growing rates of new HIV infections and have been designated as priority areas by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria‘s round-four grants. With support from other donors, courses will also be provided to healthcare professionals striving to improve HIV/AIDS-related care and treatment elsewhere in Russia and in neighboring countries. Additionally, ATEC’s evidence-based courses—which have been developed in close cooperation with the World Health Organization—will serve as a key element of ongoing efforts to integrate HIV/AIDS care and treatment into Russia’s continuing education system for medical workers.

The St. Petersburg ATEC is part of a synergistic network of training facilities spanning Central and Eastern Europe, which comprise the Regional Knowledge Hub for Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Eurasia. The Regional Knowledge Hub and its first training centers in Ukraine were developed by AIHA, WHO, and GTZ and tasked with developing a cadre of well-trained, knowledgeable, and skilled professionals who work in close collaboration with community-based organizations dedicated to providing care and social support to PLWHA. The Regional Knowledge Hub, the St. Petersburg ATEC, and its sister centers are designed to build technical capacity in countries throughout the region as they work to effectively access and utilize grants available through the Global Fund and other large-scale donor organizations. It is expected that over the next two years ATEC will lead the development of a network of similar education and training facilities across the Russian Federation.

While the St. Petersburg ATEC will provide direct technical assistance and help to establish collaborative links among institutions involved in HIV-related care in the Global Fund’s round-four regions in Russia, its broader purpose is to serve as a key coordinating mechanism for capacity building. As such, it will tap into the strengths of the many international and local organizations committed to ensuring that the Russian Federation meets the challenges of providing clinical services and social support to PLWHA.

Contact information: 
  • Yuri V. Lobzin
    Professor and Chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases
    St. Petersburg Medical Academy of Post Graduate Studies
    41 Kirochnaya St., St. Petersburg 193015 Russia
    Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 251-0853
  • Aza G. Rakhmanova
    Professor, Department of Infectious Diseases
    St. Petersburg Medical Academy of Post Graduate Studies
    and Head Infectionist, St. Petersburg Health Department
    41 Kirochnaya St., St. Petersburg 193015 Russia
    Phone: +7 (812) 277-7737
    Fax: +7 (812) 274-8302
    E-mail: rakhmanova@peterlink.ru