The Anonymous AIDS Association (AATSZ) was founded in 1988 under the name of „AIDS Aid” through the cooperation of responsibly thinking physicians. In 1992 AIDS Aid became a registered association called Anonymous AIDS Association, and it was able to receive the support of Swiss cantons. With this support the physicians established the medical and the advisory office where every guest, especially the ones with high-risk sexual behavior for HIV/AIDS could receive information and counseling. These offices tested their visitors for HIV on an anonymous basis. The Anonymous AIDS Association also organized trainings for other physicians, and through its educational and screening programs it became a leading force and forum in finding HIV-positive patients. From the very beginnings they found 25-30% of all Hungarian HIV-positive persons and prepared them for and educated them about the available treatments.
Based on their international experience members at that time established the advisory helpline that gained large popularity in a short time. The helpline counselors (physicians, a psychologist, a sociologist and trained associates) evaluated the recorded conversations every month and then discussed and developed their message in accordance with the Hungarian health and social culture. The enthusiastic and socially responsible team held lectures and spread scientific news at International AIDS Days (1st of December each year), health conferences, youth events and club meetings. More and more people showed up to these events and for the HIV screenings. From the beginnings the goal of the screening station was to prevent and fight against HIV and to spread information. Through multiple modernizations (new medical equipment and computers) and a sponsorship won in 2000 the Association continued its successful work, and it established a website that brings their important advices to hundreds of thousands of visitors. The Association tries to cover the cost of screenings from public donation. Despite certain problems, the HIV screenings became uninterrupted thanks to the support of the Association’s devoted members and carries out 5000-6000 anonymous HIV tests every year.
- to stop the spread of HIV infection and AIDS
- to give lifestyle advices – especially regarding sexual activity
- health preservation, education and prevention
- free and anonymous HIV, hepatitis and syphilis screening campaigns
- contribution to the care and treatment of the patients
- to edit and publish educational materials
- to hold educational lectures and to attend health events
- Our mission: Health. Responsibility. Prevention. Service.
Health preservation. To build responsibility for yourself and for others. To prevent HIV-AIDS and Hepatitis infections and transmissions and to lower their increasing number/rate through screening, education and diversion – especially among intravenous drug users. The AATSZ thinks that the Hungarian society lacks awareness in this area. It calls for a shared understanding and for the attention of the professionals, the policy-makers and the general public.
The work of the Association is education and prevention. They are aided by social trust (which is what drove them in the past 30 years), by the responsible professionals of the field and by the joint-thinking, humane behavior of the leaders.
The work of the Anonymous AIDS Association (Public Benefit Organization) is built on acceptance, volunteering and complete anonymity which is the source of the citizens’ complete trust and confidence. Its goal: the Association and its predecessor were founded in the mid-1980s by responsibly thinking physicians, health and social care providers with the goal of providing efficient help for every member of the society in the prevention of the beginning pandemic HIV infection of the time. The continuous safety-of-life counseling was expanded with regular HIV screenings which was originally launched in 1992 to prevent HIV infections and to stop the spread of HIV. It focused on population groups that were known to be at high risk for HIV infections. Endowed with social trust, the lifestyle counseling work, which was uninterrupted since the foundation of the Association, was further expanded in 2005: collective and individual, educational, preventive programs were commenced. Locations of operation beside the counseling office of the Association include the yearly sub-societal and pan-societal festivals and those regional public areas that are outside the reach of traditional health services (parks, baths, subcultural and private clubs). The Association prepares and distributes a brochure, both online and in printing for high-risk groups and age groups – these brochures are also placed in 1800 general practitioner practices reaching 3,500,000 citizens. Beside the lifestyle-counseling, lifestyle-changing, health-promoting, individual counseling services that were created for sexually active, high-risk groups, the number of anonymous HIV tests carried out by the Association is roughly equal to the number of tests done by the National Public Health and Medical Officer Services. The yearly rate of positive tests is 25-30%. Every year 15.000 persons are counseled and 6000 persons are tested. The HIV screening and counseling is done during standard, publicly known consultation hours in the medical/advisory office of the Association. The Association’s physicians and volunteering healthcare providers also take part in screening campaigns in schools, student clubs and festivals.