NP “E.V.A.” member Evgeniya Prokhoda decided to give a “present” to Olga K., one of the ideologists behind the HIV denialism movement. And what was it?
On the 2nd of January at Sokolin mountain in Moscow, where the infectious diseases clinic n.2 is located, a snowman with a scythe appeared. Why? And why there?
According to NP “E.V.A.” network participant Evgeniya Prokhoda, this action was a unique gift to the “doctor” Olga K., one of the ideologists behind the HIV denialism movement. She is called the “Death Doctor”, and therefore the gift was relevant. The place also has meaning: people in this infectious diseases hospital died because they were delayed in starting treatment due to HIV-deniers.
“HIV-deniers, or AIDS-deniers, are a small group of people who believe in a global conspiracy theory in the field of HIV. In their view, HIV is a plot fabricated by doctors and pharmaceutical companies, they believe it doesn’t exist and does not lead to immunodeficiency or death.
The ideology of this movement remains out of reach of its followers, opponents and laws, although behind each one stretches a string of deaths and crippled fates. The deniers’ arguments are based on fantasy or on outright lies, distortion of information, facts used out of context, and/or misinterpretation. Science’s struggle against HIV deniers is still alive. This is, in effect, the struggle for life of HIV people. Deniers urge people to not get tested for a “nonexistent” disease and try to convince those who are diagnosed with HIV not to be treated and not to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.
For specialists, HIV-deniers are feisty demagogues who disrupt lectures on preventing HIV, patients who have documented refusal to be treated for HIV and for preventing HIV transmission for mothers to children, and faceless fakes who propagate these views on social media. But it’s also real people who, despite the advice of doctors, their relatives, and even counselors in AIDS services, stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the deterioration of their health and find different ways of diverting medical care until their death.
Followers of HIV denialism are more often than not poorly educated people who are not versed in medical and scientific matters. However, activists who have been trying to resist the denialism movement have noted the trend over several years that the movement has been increasingly linked to the small town’s clinic practitioner Olga K.. This woman has acquired quite a reputation and pull within the deniers populist thrusts specifically thanks to the fact that she calls herself a doctor and works in the missile troops clinic in the small town Vlasikha in the Moscow oblast and uses medical terminology in her rhetoric.
The group “HIV/AIDS deniers and their children” on the social network Vkontakte presents a visual representation of the deadly effect of HIV denialism as there are stories of over 60 people who died as a result of the influence on and incompetent counseling of deniers, who were inspired by the words of Mrs. K and others. It was reported that the victims’ relatives appealed to her employers, but it had no effect. Although she was removed from several medical communities and associations, the “doctor” continues to counsel patients and receive money for it.
As the year comes to an end and we reflect back on what has taken place, we remember the people who died of AIDS in 2016. Once again, it is a shame that while doctors have in their control a rather large arsenal of medicines that can save the health of those who are sick and prevent the transmission of HIV infection, the number of deaths among people with HIV continues to grow. We remember acquaintances who, upon falling victim to the influence of deniers, didn’t start treatment on time and passed away.
As a result, during a recent trip to Moscow, I made a visit to the missile troops clinic, where, according to her own statement, Olga K. works, in order to file a statement on her through the clinic’s administration and, of course, to give her her holiday gift. It was decided that a scythe and machete can be useful to a person who brings death. I made the wonderful card, which expressed all my feelings for this “doctor”, with my own hands.
Despite the fact that on Google maps and in Wikipedia it states that access to the territory of the clinic is open, the entrance is only accessible with a special permit. So the HIV-denier Olga K. remained gift-less.
So then, on Sokolin mountain, next to the infectious diseases hospital where people whose treatment is delayed end up dying, we built a snowman and equipped him with Mrs K.’s presents and card. Participants in the discussion with deniers have already planned to have their own flashmob, putting symbolic snowmen next to organizations where HIV-denialist activists are working.
HIV-deniers have their own brigade of lawyers, politicians, medical personnel and religious figures who are, as it now stands, “lawful.” The unending work of surveilling the damage done by AIDS deniers falls to activists. I hope that the government and law enforcement departments will help us in this work.”