Civil Society Sharply Criticises UNAIDS For Supporting Russia’s Deadly HIV Policies

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation released the following press release:

Press Release

Civil Society Sharply Criticizes UNAIDS For Supporting Russia’s Deadly HIV Policies

They stated it in the open letter which was sent to UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Sidibe.

April 28, 2014. Moscow, Russia

On April 25, the Andrey Rylkov Foundation (ARF) published an open letter to UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Sidibe. The letter, signed by 21 international, regional and national level civil society organizations and networks, sharply criticizes the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS for their de-facto endorsement of Russia’s ineffective HIV policies through sponsoring the fourth Eastern European and Central Asian AIDS Conference (EECAAC).

The upcoming EECAAC will be held on 12-14 May in Moscow, Russia. HIV advocates from around the world believe that holding the regional HIV conference organized by the Russian government will contribute to promoting ineffective approaches in HIV response in Russia and other countries of the region.

“Russian authorities openly reject human rights and evidence based approaches to HIV prevention and treatment among key affected populations (KAP) of people who use drugs, MSM, sex workers. Since UNAIDS being the co-chair and sponsor of EECAAC, never contradicted these statements, we can only state that UNAIDS is in the full agreement with them,” said Anya Sarang, president of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation.

As a result of the deadly national HIV policies, Russia remains one of the world’s few countries with rising HIV incidence and mortality: 77,896 people were diagnosed with HIV and 22,387 people with HIV died in 2013 alone, or, respectively, 10.1% and 9.1% more than in in 2012.

Because of the current Russian legislation KAP representatives will be almost prohibited from participating in the conference and directly speaking for themselves. At the same time, the conference organizers are inviting to the EECAAC opening Russian officials and politicians who actively discredit evidence-based health programs and promote a totalitarian state control over civil society.

“We still hope that UNAIDS will stand up for those whose interests are being ignored, and voices suppressed,” adds Anya. “But when will it happen?”

You can download the open letter below and view the original press release here

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