Humanity continues to fight with HIV

Today, HIV is not completely curable. But despite the disappointing information, scientists continue to hope. It is well known that two people in the world have already managed to get a second chance and get rid of infection..

In March 2019 in article of The Guardian  «Tests on London patient offer hope of HIV ‘cure’» has been reported that due to a bone marrow transplant from a resistant virus to a donor, the patient has achieved remission.

It has been over three years since the transplant. And about 2 years after the patient stopped taking retrovirus drugs. High-sensitivity tests found no sign of a virus in his blood.

This case was called the "London Patient". Partly because this is reminiscent of a case of remission with a patient from Germany. He received similar treatment. and called "Berlin Patient". In 2007, Timothy Brown, an American, received a transplant in Berlin. It still has no signs of the virus.

A 2012 "London patient" was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer - Hodgkin's lymphoma. In 2016, the condition of the patient was extremely difficult and Professor Gupta began looking for a donor for a spinal cord transplant. It turned out that the donor had a genetic mutation of CCR5, which probably makes the person immune to HIV. The transplantation was successful. The patient suffered from a common complication - a "transplant against the host". This is a condition where the donor immune cells attack the recipient's immune cells.

Despite its initial success, most experts believe that this type of treatment is not available to the general public. The procedure is expensive, complicated and risky. In addition, finding a donor is difficult: people with the CCR5 mutation, which makes them disease-free, are mostly from northern Europe.

Scientists say it is not yet possible to believe that mutation is the cause of remission. Perhaps the "transplant against the host" reaction plays a role. Both Berlin and London patients had this complication.

Why does discrimination and human rights abuse of people with a positive HIV status only provoke the spread of the HIV-infection?

HIV-positive myths continue to exist in society that promote discriminatory treatment of people with a positive status. The reason of this is poor awareness, fear, distortion of facts and so on. However, it is important to note that any human rights violation with a positive HIV status leads to a worsening of the overall epidemic situation.

The manual of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for HIV / AIDS parliamentarians, legislation and human rights noted: Lack of respect for human rights promotes and exacerbates the effects of this disease. At the same time, HIV is undermining progress in the realization of human rights. This link is manifested in the disproportionate incidence and spread of the disease among key at-risk populations, and in particular those living in poverty. This is also reflected in the fact that the low burden of low- and middle-income countries is the predominant burden of the epidemic. AIDS and poverty today are mutually reinforcing in many of these countries.

Human rights have a direct bearing on the fight against HIV in three key areas.

First, the lack of human rights protection creates vulnerability to HIV, especially among vulnerable sections of the population, such as women, children and youth; sex workers; drug users; migrants; men having sex with men (MSM); transgender people, as well as prisoners.

These groups are more vulnerable to HIV because they are unable to exercise their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. For example, people who are deprived of their right to freedom of association and access to information may be denied the opportunity to discuss HIV issues, participate in AIDS service activities of self-help organizations and self-help groups, and participate in other prevention activities protect yourself from HIV infection. Women, and especially young women, are more vulnerable to infection if they do not have access to the information, education and services needed to ensure sexual and reproductive health and prevention. People living in poverty often do not have access to the prevention and treatment of HIV, including antiretroviral drugs.

Second, the lack of human rights protection fosters stigma, discrimination and violence against people living with HIV. These perceptions are rooted in the misunderstanding of HIV, ways of transmitting HIV, and the "fears and prejudices surrounding sex, blood, disease, and death, as well as the understanding that HIV is associated with" deviant "or" immoral "behavior. like sex outside marriage, sex between men and drug use. "

The rights of people living with HIV are often violated because of their predicted or positive HIV status, causing them to suffer as a result of both the severity of the disease and the violation of their rights. Stigma and discrimination can interfere with their access to treatment and may affect their work, housing and other rights. This, in turn, contributes to the vulnerability of other infections because HIV-related stigma and discrimination prevents people with HIV and AIDS from receiving medical and social services. Therefore, those who are most in need of information, counseling and counseling do not benefit from this, even if such services are provided.

Thirdly, the lack of human rights protection impedes effective national measures to combat HIV. Discriminatory, coercive and punitive approaches increase the vulnerability to HIV infection and increase the impact of the epidemic on individuals, families, communities and countries.

Examples include:

  • Ideologically motivated restrictions on information on HIV prevention, including safe sex and condom use;
  • Criminalization of high-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers;
  • Criminalization of HIV transmission;
  • HIV testing without informed consent;
  • Limited access to harm reduction measures, such as needle and syringe exchange and opioid replacement therapy;
  • Limited access to opioids for palliative care;
  • Immigration restrictions on HIV entry, stay and place of residence.

These measures keep people from address HIV services and limit organizations ability to access vulnerable and at-risk populations. Therefore, human rights are necessary to achieve universal access to comprehensive prevention, treatment and care services; to meet the rights and needs of the most vulnerable and vulnerable populations, and to provide voluntary, informed and evidence-based strategies, programs and practices.

Happy New Year 2020!

Soon we will be saying goodbye to 2019. Let all the good things that happened to us this year be sure to pass in the future, and all the difficulties and conflicts will remain in the past. 

We wish you peace, joy and prosperity next year. Health, love, family comfort and happiness to every family and every person!

HIV control in the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The person planning to go into military service must be healthy and serviceable. Therefore, it is not surprising that a person with a positive HIV status cannot be accepted into the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But we propose to focus more on this subject.

According to the Decree of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine from August 14, 2008 No. 402 “On Approval of the Regulation abought Military Medical Expertise in the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, when applying for military service (fixed-term or contracted), candidates for military service are compulsory HIV testing. Persons with HIV disease when drafted are recognized as unfit for military service.

It should be noted that servicemen (except for conscript service) whose HIV infection was acquired during military service may continue their service with the decision of the Military Medical Commission if recognized as eligible. 

Also, servicemen who became infected during the service and were deemed unfit for military service by military medical commissions were given the opportunity to continue their service in certain positions determined by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Although HIV is a primary concern, candidates for military service are also screened for markers of viral hepatitis B, C and syphilis. Candidates are examined at the laboratory centers at the place of residence and at the blood service centers, where, according to the “Procedure of medical examination of blood donors and (or) its components”, approved by the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine №385 of 01.08.2005, the examination is obligatory donor blood taken by indicators such as: markers of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis, which makes it impossible to use infected blood.

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