E.V.A. specialists collected over 100 positive reviews from people living with HIV concerning the trustworthiness of doctors at general medical practice institutions in St. Petersburg, based on their attitudes towards HIV-positive patients. Now these reviews are published on E.V.A.’s website, and any person with HIV can use the map to search for a doctor. The map can be filtered by the doctor’s specialty, area of the city, and nearby metro stations.
“Together with my colleagues we conducted a survey among people living with HIV,” explained E.V.A. peer counselor Anna Sitnikova. “We had a problem: many patients avoid disclosing their status at the doctor’s (this is already significant). We could not accept reviews from people who can’t remember what made the doctor trustworthy — if it was due to a lack of stigma or simply ignorance of the patient’s HIV status.”
“This map is useful for HIV-positive people because nobody wants to encounter discrimination and stigma at the doctor’s office,” said E.V.A. project coordinator Natalya Zamanskaya. “Patients want to go to a specialist that will not have any emotions related to their HIV-positive status. But due to lack of trust, there’s the situation where an HIV-positive person sees an infectious disease specialist for all their medical needs, and that’s not right. I have been living with HIV for more than 20 years. Over this time, the attitude of doctors has changed significantly. Before, they asked me to leave the hospital, saying, ‘You understand that you are dangerous to society.’ Now of course doctors are more competent.”
Inna Evgenieva Al-Batta, a doctor of the highest category, gynecologist-endocrinologist and department head in a women’s health clinic, is one of the doctors who appears on our map.
“I treat patients with HIV calmly; it’s just one of the diseases. My relationship with them is the same as with all the other patients. And outdated myths simply derive from ignorance!