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A new project “Let’s Overcome Discrimination Together” initiated and implemented by the Coalition of Youth Public Organisations “Moloda Cherkashchyna” (Youth of the Cherkasy Region) was launched in Cherkasy.
The Project envisages protection of the rights of HIV+ people and lessening discrimination against them. One of its main activities – is operation of a telephonic hot line. Advocates working on the hot line give free legal advice to HIV+ people and lead cases in court in case of need. Lawyers have already received several appeals from residents of Cherkasy asking to protect the rights of HIV+ people, in particular those in penal institutions, EEDI reports.
According to Victoria Feofilova, project coordinator, head of the Coordination Council of “Moloda Cherkashchyna”, “Now our lawyer is working on the first case. Mother and sister of an HIV+ person, serving his sentence in a prison addressed to us. He does not get proper treatment. The last medical examination showed that his state had worsened. He needs proper treatment, without which he will die. We will fight for his rights. We have all the normative acts in this connection. They must give him access to ARV therapy”. The problem of violation of rights of HIV+ people in the Cherkasy region is very acute. According to recent research, violation of HIV+ peoples’ privacy is regular in medical and educational institutions. Facts of discrimination are recorded (refusal to treat and take HIV+ children to kindergartens). Personal insults and aggression towards HIV+ people are also common.
According to Victoria Feofilova, the project “Let’s Overcome Discrimination Together” is to bring together governmental authorities, media, and the third sector in overcoming discrimination and developing a strategy for forming tolerant attitude towards people with HIV in the Cherkasy region. According to official statistics, there are slightly over 2 thousand HIV+ people registered in the Cherkasy region making it one of the 8 regions of Ukraine with the highest HIV prevalence rates. IDUs and sex workers are among the HIV vulnerable groups of population.
Lately, the number of HIV cases via sexual contact has increased in the rural areas of the region. Victoria Feofilova said that the educational aspect is another important part of the project aimed at youth and employees of educational and medical institutions. Forty informational seminars for them will be held. Informational bulletin will be issued.
Representatives of the regional department of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and organization “From Heart to Heart” help to implement the project “Let’s Overcome Discrimination Together”.