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27.09.2007

Call to provide antiretroviral drugs for people with HIV in custody

   

Nongovernmental organizations are calling on government bodies to take measures to ensure that people with HIV detained or arrested receive antiretroviral medication. A representative of the International Alliance on AIDS / HIV in Ukraine Pavlo Skala explained at a press conference in Kyiv on 26 September that there had been a number of cases where people living with HIV or ill with AIDS had been deprived of the right to receive prescribed medication when held in custody.

Head of the advocacy project of the charity “Vertical” Victoria Bondar stressed that this meant people were having their treatment interrupted which could lead to grave, even fatal, consequences.  She said that nearly six thousand people are presently receiving the treatment.

Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Centre for Prophylactic Measures and Combating AIDS, Ludmila Strorozhuk reported that NGOs had taken the initiative in attempting to resolve the problem. A working group had been set up in accordance with an order from the Ministry of Health which drew up draft instructions on procedure with people taking such medication when detained or held under arrest. The document is presently being agreed with the Ministries of Health and Internal Affairs, after which it will be registered with the Ministry of Justice.

A person with HIV spoke at the press conference about how he had recently been detained by police officers. He said that he had repeatedly asked the staff where he was held in custody to provide him with medication. He said that despite his diagnosis being known, he had still not been able to receive the medication on time.

Pavlo Skala said that this was not an isolated case and believes that such incidents are a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.  He says that the inter-departmental instructions will make it possible to stipulate procedure for providing medication to those detained.

Based on material at: www.unian.net  

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