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Information event about HIV in the Rainbow Hub

Information event about HIV in the Rainbow Hub

The GLAS Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline organized a special event on the topic ‘Talking Openly About HIV’ at the first LGBTI community center in Bulgaria – Rainbow Hub. In the initiative, which took place on October 4, 2018, participated also Health Without Borders Association, Checkpoint Sofia – Sexual Health Center, National Patient Organization.

The main purpose of the event was to give more visibility to the problems of living with HIV in Bulgaria, to outline the main challenges in the work of NGOs and their key achievements so far. The meeting was a part of a series of events and an online campaign aimed at the community of men who have sex with men with the purpose of raising awareness and the prevention of HIV.

Near the end of 2018 The GLAS Foundation and Checkpoint Sofia launched also the joint initiative #trustme in partnership with ViiV Healthcare UK. The initiative aims to encourage the testing of gay, bisexual and transsexual men for HIV and hepatitis B and C. Anyone can get tested for free anonymously and painlessly via a blood sample on site at Checkpoint Sofia or through the so-called oral tests, which detect virus antibodies in the saliva.

Within the campaign, the people who got tested in Checkpoint Sofia, had the opportunity to win free tickets for various parties, special film screenings and performances. For the occasion the GLAS Foundation also published a comic book on the topic of HIV and the possible ways to get infected with the virus, which was created by the Bulgarian illustrator Kaloyan Rusinov and targeted at the community of men who have sex with men.

On December 1, 2018, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the World AIDS Day under the motto “Know Your Status”. The GLAS Foundation planned a series of activities, starting on November 26 with an online campaign to stimulate HIV testing, targeted entirely at the gay community, which is among the groups most at risk of infection.

The provocative campaign promoted self-testing with a free oral test. For several months, oral HIV tests were available for free at the first community LGBTI Center in Sofia – Rainbow Hub – during its reception hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. On December 1st, the Center was open all day long, and everyone who wanted to do it was able to take a free test or take the test home or for a friend.

In addition to free trials that could be taken throughout the day on December 1, Rainbow Hub also hosted a series of events and an open day from 10 am to 9 pm. The program also included a special edition of the GLAS Foundation’s platform for queer cinema Big Gay Film Club, with the documentary “How to Survive a Plague”, which follows the early years of the AIDS epidemic. A limited edition of condoms, branded by, were available to everyone for free.

Outside of the Community Center, the GLAS Foundation also planned to put red ribbons – a symbol of the World AIDS Day – on key locations in the city. For the first time the National Palace of Culture turned red as a sign of support.

The events were supported by the Public Board of Telus International, the pharmaceutical company GSK and our partners from Checkpoint Sofia.

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