Yarali works as an outreach worker for our partner SPIN+, where he provides peer support for people who use drugs in Tajikistan. Yarali very much remembers his first time. Like many youngsters he started using heroin after the fall of the Soviet Union to escape from the unstable society. Yarali’s own experience with drug use helps him to support other people who use drugs, but Yarali doesn’t always know the answer to their questions. This is when he consults the online platform www.afew.tj.
In Tajikistan an estimated 25,000 people are using drugs. Around 60% of injecting drug users are living with HIV. However, there is still a big information gap regarding drug use and HIV treatment even in the healthcare sector. Healthcare workers are not trained on these topics. This often results in stigma and rejection.
In order to address this knowledge gap, AFEW International developed an online learning platform as part of the Bridging the Gaps programme. The platform provides information and professional consultation by healthcare experts on topics related to HIV, TB, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, substance dependence, and harm reduction. This is particularly useful for medical professionals in rural areas who have limited access to information. And for outreach workers like Yarali.