On March 11, Population Services International (PSI) and the Admiralteiski District of St. Petersburg organized a conference to present a successful HIV and substance abuse prevention model for youth that was jointly developed under a USAID-funded project. The Youth Center model is an integrated approach that includes coordinated activities and services in the areas of HIV and substance abuse prevention, youth-friendly counseling, training for parents, peer education, and healthy lifestyle activities.
First piloted in Gatchina (Leningrad Oblast), the project was launched in St. Petersburg in 2009 at an event with the city’s Vice Mayor Ludmila Kostkina and has received strong support from the local administration. The Youth Center model has also been replicated in Yekaterinburg and Krasnodar with support from the private sector.
Last week’s conference was opened by U.S. Consul General Sheila Gwaltney and senior officials from the District Administration, and attended by more than 50 specialists from across the city, as well as Gatchina, Krasnodar, and Yekaterinburg. Following the conference, a three-day training session on this approach was conducted for representatives of all districts of St. Petersburg.
Since 2007, USAID and the City of St. Petersburg have conducted joint activities to prevent the
spread of HIV under a Memorandum of Understanding. The Youth Center project is an excellent
example of bilateral cooperation in this sector.