The results from the Peer-to-Peer project, which was implemented with support from a Presidential grant, are in. The search for resources to support the continued work of peer counselors is underway.
Recently we have been bringing up peer counselors, who work to defend the rights of access to medical and social services, ARVT, treatment for viral hepatitis, and other issues, a great deal. Through September 30th, the counselors were working within the Peer-to-Peer project, which was supported by resources from a presidential grant. However, the project then finished, but the clients who are in need of assistance remain. We will tell you how you can help later on, but for now we present the main outcomes from the project.
The main results of the work done:
With the aid of lawyers and the efforts of four rights defenders and peer counselors, 1,390 consultations were conducted, which is 110 more consultations than the planned amount.
The issues most frequently brought forward:
— Access to medical and social services (hospitalization, lab tests, examinations): 294 consultations.
“I was contacted by the grandmother of an HIV-positive man from Neftyougansk who is disabled and who was denied the services of a social worker based on his HIV status. I helped to establish the communication between the social service center’s administrators and the man. The outcome was that not only was the man given a social worker, but additionally, they admitted that their employee violated the man’s rights by refusing him their services. And now our client knows what to do if his rights will be violated.”
— Marking the cover of medical charts: 110 consultations.
— Changing residence within the Russian Federation (difficulties in registering at AIDS centers in the new place of residence), changing one’s doctor, changing from one medical facility to another: 106 consultations.
— No access to necessary ARVT: 90 consultations.
— Issues relating to changes in ARVT regimes: 57 consultations.
Elena Ivanova (project volunteer):
“I was contacted by a young woman on social media for counseling regarding HIV. During our conversation it became clear that the doctors were stalling to start her on ARVT, which may lead to health complications. I asked the young woman about her symptoms and, after consulting with other specialists, proposed that she write a statement to the head administrators about starting treatment.
On the following day the young woman arrived at the administrator’s office with a letter that I had drafted electronically. Fortunately, she did not even have to use it as the administrator solved the issue by immediately prescribing treatment. The result: gratitude from the client for the timely start of ARVT without any conflicts with doctors, but rather in a constructive and appropriate manner.”
— Legal responsibility for disclosing HIV status without the patient’s consent: 66 consultations.
— Access to treatment for chronic viral hepatitis:: 44 consultations.
— Refusal to provide copies and notes from the patient’s medical records: 57 consultations.
— Issues of adoption, termination of pregnancy, and parental rights: 102 consultations.
“Upon registering her pregnancy at the obstetrician’s, an HIV positive woman encountered negative and stigmatizing treatment from the attending doctor. Furthermore, the doctor dared to inform the social services that this woman is supposedly from a dysfunctional family. In reality the woman has a degree, works, and leads a healthy lifestyle, raises her children with her husband, owns her own apartment… In short, this type of person is generally considered socially adapted and successful.
I helped her write up a report addressed to the head administrator of the obstetrician office about the unacceptable and unethical behavior of the attending doctor with a request to change the attending doctor to another specialist. The administrator personally apologized to the woman and had a talk with the attending doctor. As a result the doctor completely changed their behavior towards the woman.”
— Responsibility of HIV infection: 45 consultations.
— Receiving ARVT medication by proxy: 52 consultations.
— Access to ARVT medication on Russian territory for patients who are not Russian citizens: 22 consultations.
Based on the clients’ queries, representatives from NP E.V.A. developed and sent a document with recommendations to the National Strategy to Combat HIV in the RF.
In addition, 6 algorithms were created for patients to follow in the case of rights violations and 10 templates for appealing to public institutions. They were disseminated on social networks and are available on NP E.V.A.’s website (here in Russian).
6 educational clips were filmed on issues relevant to patients. They contain the algorithms on how to act in cases of patients’ rights violations. You can have a look at our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EVAHIV.
Support the work of peer counselors! You can donate on our organization’s page, which was graciously created by Yandex: https://vmeste.yandex.ru/evanetwork.
Photographed: Peer Counselor Svetlana Komissarova from Tula (right) and Yaroslava Medvedeva from Saint Petersburg (left).