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Church head condemns shameful treatment of HIV patients


HIV-positive patients at the Lavra HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Clinic on the territory of the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra are continuing their protest begun dramatically on 12 September when some of the patients handcuffed themselves to beds in the outpatient department.  They say that they represent the 9, 000 patients of the clinic and that they have chained themselves in order to survive.  The Head of the Lavra, Father Pavel has said that the “blackmail of patients and doctors must end” and demanded that the head of the National Academy of Medical Sciences [NAMS] revolve the situation.  He said that the latter had the resources to do so and reminded him of the memorandum which, he stressed, had not been revoked.  

NAMS announced controversial plans to relocate the HIV patents back in 2011.  The move is particularly scandalous since the clinic is very well-equipped through generous donations, including from a concert especially given for the purpose by Elton John.

As reported here, a Cabinet of Ministers order at the beginning of July called for the patients to be evicted by 8 July.  Following considerable outcry, a memorandum was signed on 11 July between NAMS, the Lavra under the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.  This agreed that patients of the clinic would not be moved until the new building at Amosova St was completed.

The patients began their protest over what they say are serious attempts by NAMS senior officials to pressurize the doctors and patients into moving now, to inadequate premises on Halycka St.  

The All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV is promising to support the patients and prevent them being pushed out until alternative premises are made ready. 

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