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Students from the School of Higher Economics Were Told About HIV

Irina Evdokimova and Maria Godlevskaya told students from the School of Higher Economics about working for a nonprofit that tackles the issues of HIV-positive people…
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Irina Evdokimova and Maria Godlevskaya told students from the School of Higher Economics about working for a nonprofit that tackles the issues of HIV-positive people in Russia.
 
On the 15th of October, NP ‘E.V.A.’ representatives Irina Evdokimova and Maria Godlevskaya told students from the department of sociology at the School of Higher Economics about working for a nonprofit that tackles the issues of HIV-positive people in Russia.
 
Guzel Sabirova, the deputy director of the center for youth studies at the School of Higher Economics, invited the civil society activists to the National Research University. In her words, one of the goals of the course “Social Problems in the Modern World” is to learn how modern social issues are “constructed and legitimized by different agents.” The most visible and active legitimizers of problems, according to experts, are participants in civil initiatives and people working in the not-for-profit sector.
 
The event was held as a discussion. NP “E.V.A.” representatives shared about how and why HIV is spreading in Russia and what issues HIV-positive people may be faced with and in what ways civil society can participate in resolving the situation. They also answered many different questions about how HIV develops and what treatment exists as well as how medical support for people living with HIV is organized.
 
Guzel Sabirova:
 
“Of course, in some way or another we all hear about how different groups solve one problem or another. But without having the specific objective of learning about issues and prior to facing them directly, few of us know about the great deal of work that is done by activists. The participation of activists in this educational seminar was an important event of this course because it gave the students the opportunity to have “live” discussion and ask questions.
 
It was an important choice to determine who to invite and we were acquainted with the work of the organization as a whole as well as the particular staff. I already was familiar with Irina and knew her as a person who is competent and not indifferent. To be honest, I knew nothing of peer counselors for HIV and therefore Masha’s participation in the seminar was especially important and interesting.
 
Besides that, I enjoyed the rhetoric and activity of the center’s activists. It appeared to me that the students may find the issue of working with HIV-positive people to be interesting. This was confirmed by the types of questions that were asked by the students: about the virus’ biology, the methods of treatment, and the prognosis.
 
In my opinion, the event turned out to be very interesting. This type of meeting is important not only from the point of introducing students to the work of activists, but also to disperse information about HIV-positive people in order to overcome stereotypes that are widespread among the general population, which is an important social issue as many groups are stigmatized, restricted from receiving medical care or social benefits, and can worsen the psychological well-being of people who are in difficult situations. I hope that the students who took part in the meeting gained a new perspective on the issue and that in their future professional work and private life they will have an accepting attitude towards HIV-positive people.”
 
Irina Evdokimova:
 
“I was greatly inspired by this meeting. The students asked lots of absolutely different questions. I have great hope that students from all different majors, and especially those who plan to go into academics, will pay attention to the issue of HIV-infection and will actively collaborate with representatives of non-profits. Our door is always open for those interested and those who are seeking information.”
 

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