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How to Establish Relationships Between Doctors and Patients?

Counselors from the Peer-to-Peer project help clients solve problems which arise due to their HIV status.   In February 2016 our organization embarked on the…

Counselors from the Peer-to-Peer project help clients solve problems which arise due to their HIV status.


In February 2016 our organization embarked on the implementation of a project entitled Peer-to-Peer, supported by a Presidential grant from the national social movement ‘Civil Dignity.’ The aim of the project is to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis in the Russian Federation by means of accessing rights defenders and legal services.
First a training was held and, from among the participants living with HIV, four peer counselors were selected to work on this project. The counselors began to establish initial contact with patients in internet forums and to hold informational consultations about the possibility of receiving help from rights defenders and lawyers.


The interim results from May showed that in the first three months of the project 520 consultations were held. The project covers four regions: Moscow — 40%, Saint Petersburg — 23%, Khanty Mansiisk — 20%, Novosibirsk — 9%, additional regions of the RF — 8%.


What issues do clients bring forth most frequently? Our counselors report the following:


Svetlana Komissarova:


“A female client reached out to me with a complaint regarding a regional gynecologist because she was denied cervical erosion treatment due to her HIV positive status. Of course such a denial is illegal and therefore I proposed that the young woman receive a note from the AIDS center about the fact that HIV is not considered a counterindication for carrying out the procedure and take this note to the gynecologist and ask for a written refusal.


The young woman did just this. In conclusion the doctor apologized and explained they acted with the best intentions as they didn’t want the patient to become worse. The cervical erosion was removed and the young woman was very grateful for our help in accessing the necessary medical services.”


Elena Ivanova (project volunteer):


“I was contacted by a young woman through a social network to be counseled on HIV infection. During our conversation it was revealed that the doctors have been stalling to prescribe her ARVT, which may compromise her health. I asked the young woman about her symptoms and, after consulting with other specialists, I recommended she write a letter to the head administrators about treatment prescription.


On the following day the woman made an appointment with the department head and brought along an electronic copy of a letter written by me. Fortunately she didn’t even have to use the letter since the department head solved the problem and prescribed her treatment immediately. The outcome of the case was a thankful client and timely start of ARVT, without any conflicts with doctors but rather in a constructive and competent manner.”


Alyona Tarasova:


“The grandmother of an HIV positive disabled man contacted me regarding the denial of social worker services in Neftyougansk due to his HIV positive status. I helped to establish the dialogue between the social service center’s leadership and the man. In the end not only was he assigned a social worker, but they also admitted that the center’s representative, in verbally denying services, truly violated the disabled man’s rights. And now our client knows what to do if his rights are ever violated again.”


Yaroslava Medvedeva:


“The relative of an HIV positive homeless man contacted me because the man had a high temperature and the ambulance refused to take him. I told them that first they must try to have a constructive conversation with the ambulance doctors and if they still refuse to take him, then to ask for written refusal. As a result the man was taken to the hospital. Then I told them what must be done so that the man would be taken to the infectious disease hospital. In conclusion the man was hospitalized in the infectious disease hospital where he was treated for pneumocystis pneumonia, one of the most common opportunistic infections in the presence of HIV infection.”


Aleksandr Ezdakov:


“Upon being registered for pregnancy at the obstetrician’s office, an HIV positive woman was subject to negative and stigmatizing behavior from the doctor. Furthermore, the doctor  informed the social services that this woman was supposedly from a dysfunctional family. However, in reality this woman has a university degree, works, leads a healthy life, raises her child with her husband and has her own apartment. In general, one would usually call this kind of person fully socially adapted and successful.


I helped her leave a statement for the head of the obstetrician’s office about the inappropriate, unethical behavior of the attending physician with a request to change doctors. The statement was accepted. The head personally apologized to the woman and had a conversation with the attending physician. As a result the doctor completely changed their behavior towards the woman.”
This project is being implemented with financial support from the government in the form of a grant in accordance with the order from the President of the Russian Federation from 17.01.2014 № 11-рп and from the outcome of a contest held by the Civil Dignity Movement (


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