Russia: HIV-activists arrested at the International MDG-6 Forum
On October 10, 2011, before the opening of the International MDG-6 Forum in Moscow, activists of the "Patients in Control" movement held yet another protest action, declaring their outrage about the situation with HIV treatment and prevention in Russia.
Opposite to the building of the World Trade Centre in Moscow, banners and posters were set up with the following slogans: "38 days of HIV-kickbacks. Ministry of Health is a thief!", "Enough of fortune-telling, we need treatment", "Ministry of HIV". This protest action continued a series of similar actions organized in different cities of Russia, including Moscow, Kaliningrad, Ryazan, Tula, Togliatti, Arkhangelsk, and other cities.
According to representatives of the movement, the incompetence of the Ministry of Health leads to inefficient use of resources allocated for combating the epidemic, to put it mildly. Many regions of RF are still facing stock-outs of viral load tests and immune systems tests required for monitoring patients' health. The country still has no mandatory HIV treatment guidelines, despite numerous statements about their necessity made by experts and activists.
On top of that, there has been a scandalous 85-million tender on HIV prevention organized by the Ministry of Health. According to the terms and conditions of the request for proposals, an enormous scope of work focusing mainly on persuading representatives of most-at-risk populations to come to AIDS centres and undergo testing for HIV has to be completed within 38 working days.
The activists say that they are tired of trying to reach an agreement with the health officials; that is why they are forced to resort to such measures.
"MDG - 6 is an opportunity for us to draw the attention of the decision-makers to the chaos in the field of HIV treatment in Russia. In order to solve this problem, considerable commitment of officials is required. We can no longer afford ignoring the incompetence of the Ministry of Health. The President Administration should take immediate actions", says Alexandr Ezdakov, representative of "Patients in Control" movement.
10 out of 20 participants of the protest action were detained by the police. They were released the next day.