Ath Checkpoint

Ath Checkpoint

Athens, GreeceAthens, Greece
Year Founded:
2009
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ath Checkpoint is an HIV prevention center located in Athens, for men who have sex with men. It is designed to offer counseling and information about safer sex, rapid testing for HIV and linkage to health care services in case of a reactive (positive) result. At the Ath Checkpoint you can take a free and anonymous saliva test for HIV as well as counseling for safer sex practices

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Access to free HIV testing is becoming more and more difficult in Greece. Services once offered for free from public structures thery are now no longer available. Moreover there was never a cultivated ground for accompanying services of counseling for safer sex practices and harm reduction. When it comes to key populations affected by HIV, like men who have sex with men, things are getting worse. The response to the needs of this group was never targeted, as they were practically invisible by public health pro-test interventions. As a result, such structures were less accessible to MSM creating phenomena like late presenters (diagnoses at a late state) and high prevelance within that population, as there was no timely diagnoses and infections were multiplied

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Ath Checkpoint aim to address the beforementioned issues. Ath Checkpoint: - offers free services of HIV testing and counseling on sexual health - is targeted to men who have sex with men, without excluding other key populations or the general public - overcomes obstacles to smooth and regular HIV monitoring (convenient working hours, easily accessible by public transport being situated in the heart of the city near the gay venues) - fits modern lifestyle of young and active people as it offers a concise service of rapid saliva test for HIV and counseling - helps to link people to the health system when there is a reactive test (positive antibodies test) - offers follow up services, reminding clients to repeat test accordingly - does frequent outreach to the community
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We aim to provide free sexual health services to the main key population that is affected by HIV in Greece, men who have sex with men. We try to do this not only by providing very friendly and accesible services in an accomodating environment, but also by cultivating a sexual health conscience to people that are most active and engaging to most risky sexual practices. We also try to entrench the LGBT community with positive attitudes towards prevention habits as regular use of condoms and regular HIV monitoring

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In the first five months of operation, Ath Checkpoint have become a trusted HIV prevention structure, recognizable by the core part of our target group and present to most related events and venues. We have performed about 800 test and counseling sessions, with a relatively high ratio of reacting (positive antibodies) tests. We are dedicated in offering a concise experience to our clients and we are especially oriented to following up the procedure of prevention, whether it is rescheduling sessions and reminders or linking individuals to the health systems. We offer a climax of services that clients chose to use: from counseling to full HIV monitoring and HIV educating sessions. We have established a post-session review system and almost all the reviews we have got until now are very positive. As a result, Ath Checkpoint have greatly been merited from enthralled word of mouth. Ath Checkpoint is becoming more and more respected by the specials, as it lifts off a heavy amount of work on primary testing and prevention for HIV
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

For 2013 we aim to: - achieve 2,500 testing and counseling sessions - inaugurate the second checkpoint in Thessaloniki, targeted to the general population - be present in every big LGBT and MSM-orianted event - have condom dispensers installed in all gay and MSM-orianted venues in Athens, Thessaloniki and other big cities in Greece

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We feel that Ath Checkpoint is positioned in a market niche where there are few overlappings. HIV testing and monitoring trageted to MSM comes to compliment actions targeted to other key populations -like IDUs and migrants- carried out by other organizations. Our peers to the response to HIV in Greece are other private organizations like Center for Life and PRAKSIS. We also feel that we do not try to compete with traditional state provision services but to overcome shortcomings, trace and cover needs of the MSM population
Team

Founding Story

Positive Voice is the association of PLHIV in Greece. It was founded in 2009 to halt the HIV epidemic and limit the socioeconomic effects to PLHIV.
Organization Name

Positive Voice

About You
About You
First Name

Positive

Last Name

Voice

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Innovation
Explain what the "innovation" is about, e.g., is it the idea and/or the model you use to accomplish the idea, or your understanding of the target population, etc.?

Ath Checkpoint is a community based center for voluntary testing and counseling for HIV. Even though it is based on a model established in other european areas, it is an innovative venture in a national level. The profile of Ath Checkpoint is a groundbreaking project in many levels: it addresses issues of smooth access to HIV testing and counseling for targeted key populations. Making such an important service accessible to men who have sex with men is mainly catered by our networking, roots and deep understanding of the needs of that group. Building that structure we cooperated actively with all organisations, groups and prominent activists and professionals from the local LGBT scene. After half a year of operating in Athens, the response to our services have got very positive reviews and we are gradually being established as a complete one-stop structure for HIV health for men who have sex with men

Describe how your innovation model is distinct from any other organization in your field?

Ath Checkpoint was created on the grounds of lacking of HIV test and counseling services, that are convenient and accessible to people that have tight schedules and feel unwelcome to traditional environments and structures for HIV testing. State structures not only they are addressed to the general public, they also are problematic providing accessible services. There are also some other private initiatives addressed to other key populations like intravenous drug users and migrants. Ath Checkpoint is the first structure that offers services designed according to the needs of modern men who have sex with men

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

The base of our organizational model is peer-to-peer services with the technical support of the main HIV policy maker in Greece (KEELPNO). Staff is consisted of people from the LGBT community with an activist and/or professional record in the field. Added to this factor, we have designed and customize services adapted to the lifestyle and needs of men who have sex with men of any background. We provide friendly services of testing and counseling, adhering to a model that is: quick, easily accessible, targeted, painless, free of charge, with convenient operating hours. Such innovations are becoming more and more appealing to the LGBT community and men who have sex with men

How do you make sure you constantly innovate in light of (potential) external challenges, or your growth plan?

The challenges in the area of HIV prevention are always on the rise in Greece on the background of the socioeconomic crisis. Traditional structures collapse and we try to cover the needs of this key population. We try to introduce multiple methods of testing (saliva and blood antibodies tests), and we plan to expand our services to full sexual health prevention services, introducing testing for more sexually transmitted infections (hepatitis, syphilis etc.). It is also our aim to inaugurate a second prevention unit to the second largest city of Greece, Thessaloniki. As we hope that we will continue to grow, we plan to open our services to more key populations, targeting to each group's special needs

Organization Country

, AT, Athens

Business Model
The systemic challenge you are trying to overcome (select one)

Bring accessible healthcare to communities in emerging markets

Health area (target market) where the need is [select only one]

Other specialty care

Categories along the health continuum you are covering [select all that apply]

Prevention, Detection, Intervention, Follow-up.

Stage that best applies to your solution [select only one]

Start-up and growth (pilot is successful and starting to expand)

Core strategies of your business model [select all that apply]

Approaches to behavioral change at the individual level, Redesign of the public healthcare system for more efficiency (in terms of processes, structure etc.), New/redefined roles for healthcare service provision, New approaches to distribution of health products and services, Unconventional partnerships (between traditional healthcare players and players outside healthcare).

If other, specify here:
Most relevant tools you are using to implement the strategies outlined above [select only two]

New skills, Consultation, Education/training.

If other, specify here:
What is your value proposition?

We want to make Ath Checkpoint a beacon of prevention for men who have sex with men . A stable reference for the LGBT community, cultivating a culture of safer sexual practices and prevention

Who is your customer(s)?

Within the key population of men who have sex with men:

- young men
- gay men
- sexually active men who regularly or occasionaly engage with sex with other men

As we scale up we will explicitly move towards the general public:

- other key populations : women, youngsters, IDUs
- the general public

What approaches to you use to reach your customers?

We approach our main target group moving in the frame of their everyday lifestyle. Thus, we use various ways to make Ath Checkpoint recognizable:

- audiovisual campaigns to social medias
- outreach to gay and gay-friendly venues with flyer campaigns
- outreach to the general public and our main target group by distributing condoms and lubes
- participation to gay events and parties with distribution of materials
- constant co-operations with gay enterprises and gay media
- constant presence to gay dating sites
- positioning of condom dispensers with Ath Checkpoint logo to all gay venues
- word of mouth and networking

What are your primary activities?

- testing for HIV
- counseling for safer sex practices
- linking newly diagnosed to the health system
- producing printed and audiovisual material
- outreach with informative materials, condoms and lubes for sex
- research and surveillance on MSM behaviours
- creating events to promote sexual prevention
- presence in gay venues, parties, events

What other challenges - individual, organizational, or environmental – are you currently facing or might hinder future success of your business, and how do you plan to overcome those?

The main obstacle for community based structures in Greece is the current model of providing health prevention services. It is rather a systemic and institutional inertia of traditional state centralized services. For example, introducing alternative technologies for HIV testing (saliva test vs blood test) is not easy, since there are certain health specialties and professionals that monopolise such methods. In co-operation with institutions and by showcasing a consistent body of work, we try to overcome such issues. By scaling up we will be ready to employ more professionals to operate various methodologies.

Briefly describe your growth strategy going forward

Our plan is to scale up gradually, and to move forward expanding towards two directions:

- expand geographically: open new checkpoint structure to the second largest greek city and hopefully continue expanding
- encompass more vulnerable groups: we want to address our services to more groups that are affected by HIV

What dimensions for growth are you currently targeting for your innovation [select all that apply]

New customer group(s), New regions(s).

What makes your business "ready" for growth?

We have already a designed and tested model of operating. It is a matter of using current resources to expand the checkpoint project in order to cover more people. Our project has a vast momentum making it a fertile ground for growth

What are your key growth objectives?

We aim to:

- scale up the rate of test and couseling sessions
- communicate and make the structure visible to more than 50% of the MSM population living in Greece
- open a second structure
- cover new key populations and move towards covering the needs of the general population

Organization's Country of Operation

, AT, Athens

Social Impact
What methods for quantification of social impact are you applying (if at all)?

We use indexes to measure:

- the rate of gratification from the part of the customers
- routes of how the customers learned about us
- the actual rate of sessions that help us to plan and scale up future actions
- statistics from the response to our communication campaigns through social media

Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?

The model of checkpoints for sexual health monitoring has been successful in some european cities. We have drawn experience, directions and inspiration from previous ventures and it seems to be a model flexible enough to be adapted to many regions and specific needs. We feel ready to apply our localized and customized organizational model to northern Greece, adapting a more open approach regarding targeting groups of interest

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Ath Checkpoint is a flexible and adaptable model. We aim to become the first line service for primary sexual prevention for men who have sex with men. We also plan to establish at least one more such structure in the rest of the country. Delivering reliable results will reassure the constant support of our allies

Sustainability
Elaborate on your current financing strategy

Ath Checkpoint operates with the financial support of a big HIV-specific foundation. Other supporters are most pharma companies. We also seek and get the technical support from state organizations. Our budget is covered for the current year, with the perspective of continuing on a similar financial model.

Share of revenue generation in total income of organization (in percent)

0%

Direct sales to patients or other beneficiaries (in percent)
Of the possible sources of these sales listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Licensing fees, e.g., for technology/franchise model (in percent)
Of the possible sources of these licensing opportunities listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Service contract with organizations, e.g., government, NGOs (in percent)
Of the possible sources of the service contracts listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Explain your revenue generation strategy in more detail
Share of philanthropy in total income of organization (in percent)

100%

Philanthrophy strategies you are using

Diversified strategy.

Explain your philanthropic approach in more detail

Ath Checkpoint is a non-profit structure that operates on donations and private funds. Thus, it cannot generate income. Having our core budget catered from our co-operation from our main funder and various funds by pharma companies, we will seek to achieve extra donations by non HIV-specific companies and organazations that will help to expand our project

Expand on your selections; explain how you will sustain funding over the next 1-3 years.

We work according a very analytical and strict accountability financial model with our main donor. Delivering measureable amounts of work will expand the contracts of co-operation. That model works in a positive way both ways: it helps us to be target-driven and dedicated to achieve our deliverables, whereas our allies see a reliable partner. This healthy and sustainable model of transparent administration we aim to adhere to, also help us communicate further needs with other donors. Having the state health structures collapsing, most enterprises that relate their business plans to locating patients in need seem very willing to support structures like Ath Checkpoint.

Years in Operation

Operating 1-5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them