Refugiados ucranianos con VIH encuentran apoyo en Estonia

Cuando Svitlana huyó hacia Estonia debido a la guerra en Ucrania, no solo tuvo que lidiar con los retos de llegar a un país nuevo, sino además con cómo no abandonar su tratamiento contra el VIH.

“Me estaba quedando sin medicamentos (…). Intenté sacar una cita con un médico yo sola, pero la lista de espera era realmente larga”, explica la mujer, de 45 años, a la AFP.

Durante años, Svitlana, que tiene tres hijos, controló su enfermedad con la ayuda de medicamentos. Su marido la infectó sin querer cuando se conocieron.

En Estonia tuvo suerte. En el centro de refugiados logró obtener información sobre la red estonia de personas que viven con VIH (EHPV, por sus siglas en estonio), una oenegé que ofrece ayuda a quien lo necesita.

“Llamé al voluntario y le conté mis problemas (…). Pasaron unos días y lograron conseguirme una cita con un doctor”, explica. El personal de la oenegé, que nació hace casi dos décadas, incluso la acompañó.

“Ahora mismo, estoy con una terapia que me dieron en Estonia. Me siento bien, mis resultados son realmente buenos (…) Mi inmunidad es buena y la carga viral es de cero”, señala.

“No soy peligrosa para la sociedad, para otras personas. Ni en la vida cotidiana, ni en el trabajo, ni en ninguna parte”, resalta.

– “Situación difícil” –

https://www.lanacion.com.ar/agencias/refugiados-ucranianos-con-vih-encuentran-apoyo-en-estonia-nid21012023/

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Estonia Comes To Aid Of HIV-positive Ukraine Refugees

When Svitlana fled war-torn Ukraine for Estonia, she not only had to contend with all the usual challenges of being a refugee, she also had her HIV treatment to worry about.

The 45-year-old, whose husband unknowingly infected her when they met, had been managing her illness for years with medication and now, in a new country, needed to ensure her supply.

“I was running out of pills… I tried to register for a doctor’s appointment on my own, but the waiting list was really long,” the mother-of-three told AFP.

Fortunately, at the refugee centre she came across information about the Estonian Network of People Living with HIV (EHPV), an NGO offering assistance.

Svitlana had come to the right place.

The organisation is well-versed in the ins and outs of the illness, having been around for nearly two decades as the country fought to rein in its transmission rate.

“I called the volunteer and told them about my problem… A few days passed and they got me a doctor’s appointment (and) went there with me.

“Right now, I’m on therapy I got in Estonia. I feel good, my test results are really good… My immunity is good and the viral load is zero,” she said.

“I’m not dangerous for society, other people. Neither in everyday life nor at work, anywhere.”

The spread of HIV was once out of control in Estonia.

For years the small Baltic state had the highest transmission rate within the European Union.

“We had a very difficult situation, a concentrated epidemic among injecting drug users,” said Lachin Aliyev, EHPV board chairman.

“But in 20 years we’ve been able to stabilise the situation,” Aliyev told AFP.

Things were at their worst at the turn of the century, with 1,474 new cases diagnosed in Estonia in 2001, or a rate of nearly 108 per 100,000 people.

Those figures have been falling steadily ever since, with 125 new cases and a rate of 9.4 reported in 2021, according to government data.

It was still one of the worst rates in the EU — surpassed only by those of Latvia and Cyprus, according to the World Health Organization — but it had improved.

“We’ve been working towards zero new cases of HIV, zero stigmatisation, no children born with HIV,” Aliyev said.

“But first there was Covid… and then the war started.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, tens of thousands of refugees have wound up in Estonia. Of those, a tiny percentage are HIV-positive.

There are currently just over 100 of them registered and receiving therapy in Estonia, according to health authorities.

Most had already been receiving treatment in Ukraine and it was crucial that they not run out of pills.

“Once it’s begun, the person shouldn’t stop treatment even for a day,” Aliyev said.

“Medication must be available, so that the person doesn’t develop resistance if they suddenly stop taking them,” he added.

In addition to helping the refugees with any medical issues, EHPV offers a support group where they can vent and problem-solve in Ukrainian.

The organisation also fights stigma, as the slight uptick in new cases, including in regions that had virtually none, has led to disinformation and fear-mongering against refugees.

“It has frightened people a bit, and politicians have encouraged this fear and started manipulating it,” Aliyev said.

“Our task is to explain that people receiving treatment have zero viral load, there is no virus in their blood and they don’t spread it,” he added.

https://www.barrons.com/articles/estonia-comes-to-aid-of-hiv-positive-ukraine-refugees-01674282310

Statistics of HIV infection.

Every month, quite a few infected people are found infected with HIV. The Health Board compiles statistics on infected people on a monthly basis. We, the Estonian HIV-positive network, in turn bring you a statistician.

As of Detsember 2022, 240 HIV-infected persons have been diagnosed in Estonia.

A total of 10,580 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Estonia over the years.

https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/nakkushaigused-menuu/tervishoiutootajale/nakkushaigustesse-haigestumine/hiv-ja-aids

 

Baltic Hub/Baltic Hub works as part of SoS_project 2.0_Emergency Response_HelpNow

Baltic Hub

Baltic Hub works as part of SoS_project 2.0_Emergency Response_HelpNow

Baltic Hub is a regional coordination center that provides services to support refugees from Ukraine (HIV+, LGBT, and other target groups) and unites HIV and LGBT organizations in Estonia, Latvia, and Finland.

Estonia

Estonian Network of People Living with HIV – the organization that brings all people living with HIV+ together and represents their interests in Estonia.

Contacts 

Tallinn – Rävala pst 8-1014

Narva – Linda 4, 6 floor

Jõhvi– Rakvere tn 4

In Ukrainian – +372 5376 1550, Alla

In Russian – +372 5870 6070, Lachin

In English and Estonian – +372 5557 8131, Yekaterina

facebook.com/ehpv.ee

ehpv.ee

Services

1. Providing access to medicines

  • ARVT – drugs
  • Drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis, viral hepatitis
  • Drug Replacement and Maintenance Therapy2. Social support to ensure free and easy access to healthcare
    3. Advice on health insurance for refugees
    4. Psychological support
    5. Alimental and humanitarian aid
    6. Support group for women with HIV from Ukraine (meetings every Thursday at 1 p.m.)

Latvia

Association “AGIHAS” – a support group for people living with HIV

Contacts 

For men – +371 202 07 737 (Latvian and Russian)

For women +371 203 99 921 (Latvian, English, and Russian)

agihas.lv/eng/

facebook.com/agihaslv

Services:

  • Psycho-emotional support
  • Information about ART options: What? Where? How?

Finland

Positiiviset ry, HivFinland is a non-governmental organization by and for PLHIV in Finland.

Contacts 

Helsinki – Malminkatu 24 C 33

+358 09 692 5441

positiiviset.fi

facebook.com/positiiviset

Services

  1. Peer counseling
  2. Sexual counseling
  3. Support and crisis discussions
  4. HIV testing
  5. Other activities

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#Together

Invitation: Q-SPACE: Queerama Event

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On Tuesday, 20 December, 19.30 at KINO SÕPRUS, a new initiative Q-SPACE will hold its first event.

Premiering, is the award winning documentary Queerama a cinematic exploration of LGBTQ+ (in)visibilty and how over time queerness became more and more overtly present in British cinema. The film consists of rare archival material and is masterfully and humorously executed into a montage, charting the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the UK, against the up beat soundtrack provided by John Grant.

After the screening join Daisy Asquith (director of Queerama), Peeter Rebane (director and producer of Firebird) and Heinrich Sepp (artist, performer and radio host of Homokringel) in conversation with Eva Kübar – filmmaker, film critic and cultural journalist.

In order to receive your ticket please register HERE no later than Sunday, 18 December, 23.59. An electronic ticket will be sent to your email from KINO SÕPRUS prior to the screening.

Please join us on social media FACEBOOKFACEBOOK EVENT and INSTAGRAM and help spread the word!

Any questions or comments, please write to me here!

Best wishes and hope to see you at the screening!

Manny

Manny de Guerre
Side by Side LGBT Film Festival
manny@bok-o-bok.com

Tel: +7.812.313.9341
bok-o-bok.com

2. December Evening dedicated to the fight against global AIDS in the concert hall of “Vaba Lava” in Narva

On December 2, an evening dedicated to World AIDS Day was held in the Concert Hall of the Free Stage. For 3 years we could not get together, viruses took us home, but medicine does not stand still, and today, more than ever, we are united by one mission, one goal – to live in peace, harmony and take care of our health and the health of our humanity. The event was held in the form of interactive communication of performers and spectators, immersion in history, coming out, words of support and gratitude, musical accompaniment of Narva musicians. We express our deep gratitude to all those who responded to our invitation and came to spend this evening with us.

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we celebrate the value, perspectives, and contributions that persons with disabilities bring to the world, recognizing that when individuals in these communities have equal access and opportunities to fully participate in society, everyone benefits.

Let’s work together to make our world more inclusive and accessible. It’s not only about fairness; it’s an investment in our shared future.

#AccessForAll #IDPD #IDPD2022

Today, December 1, was the World AIDS Day.

Today, December 1, was the World AIDS Day. For the 17th year already, the Estonian HIV-positive network is lighting candles all over Estonia to commemorate those who have died from AIDS and the war in Ukraine, in addition to AIDS.

Kohtla-Järve

Tallinn

Today on #WorldAIDSDay2022, people around the world unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.

Our Chargé d’Affaires 𝐆𝐚𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐧 joined community members affected by HIV to light candles in honor and remembrance of HIV victims around the world, with hope toward fulfilling America’s promise to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030.

We remain committed to ensuring that the voices of people affected by HIV – of all ages, sex, and populations – are heard and valued, focusing on this year’s theme of “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV.”

Narva

What is HIV?

Despite the fact that the immunodeficiency virus is the most studied virus on the planet, most people still do not have clear understanding of what HIV is.

HIV is a human immunodeficiency virus, which in turn causes the disease – HIV-infection. According to UNAIDS, more than 70 million people have been infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic, of which 32 million have already died. The prevalence of the disease is not uniform between countries and even continents. For example, more than 25 million people with HIV live on the African continent, in Russia the number of cases has long exceeded one million, 10 thousand people with positive HIV-status are in Estonia.

The first case of HIV-infection in Estonia was recorded in 1988. Despite the long term of the case, medical progress allows the null patient to fully live his life nowadays. Sexual transmission of HIV-infection in Estonia was common until 1999. In 2001, the number of new cases reached nearly 1,500 people and Estonian government has announced an epidemic.

HIV-infection is a chronic infectious disease characterized by a slow destruction of the immune system. An interesting feature of HIV-infection is that a person can live for years without suspecting any signs of the disease. However, symptoms may be present, but people usually attribute them to the flu or viral respiratory infections.

The clinical picture on the initial stages may actually resemble flu symptoms. A person develops a runny nose, fever, pharyngitis, loss of appetite, lymph nodes enlargement and there are many other symptoms. The symptomatology caused is due to the fact that the virus actively integrates into human DNA and thereby produce a greater number of new viral particles. At the same time, new viral particles attack the cells of the immune system, thereby causing a flu-like state in humans. This phase usually does not last long, which does not allow a person to suspect something serious.

Subsequently, life goes on and person again does not notice any symptoms of the disease. At times, a person may be ill, which again writes off everything to a common cold. This can last for decades, depending on the individual characteristics of the human immune system. If during this time a person is not examined and does not take appropriate treatment, then after 10 -15 years, HIV-infection passes into the stage of AIDS.

Often people do not see the difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV-infection is a disease that is caused by human immunodeficiency viruses. While AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, the last stage of HIV-infection. Most often, AIDS develops in patients who are not aware of their HIV status or in patients, who refuse treatment. It is important to understand that you can not get AIDS. You can only get infected with HIV.
Often, diseases tend to develop in certain key population, HIV- infection is also not exception. The risk group includes men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and sex workers. However, everybody should remember that anyone who does not take appropriate precautions could become infected with HIV.

There are three ways to transmit the virus: through blood, unprotected sexual intercourse, and the vertical path, that is, from mother to baby. Nowadays, vertical path is less common, usually during pregnancy the future mother is tested for HIV-infection. If a pregnant woman is found to have HIV infection, she is prescribed special therapy. The treatment reduces the viral load in the mother’s blood, thereby she can give birth to a healthy baby.
The virus can be easily transmitted through the blood, as it immediately enters the bloodstream. Cases of infection through blood involve the use of infected needles, transfusion of blood or its components, and organ transplants. There is a fact that in many countries, by the law gay people are prohibited to donate blood.
It is also believed that to be infected with HIV when tattooing is possible only theoretically. Due to the fact that the virus is unstable in the environment, and careful processing of tools in tattoo parlors has a detrimental effect on the virus itself. In addition, the widespread use of disposable needles in tattoo parlors minimizes the risk of infection.
Promiscuity also lead to the spread of HIV-infection. Sex can be either homosexual or heterosexual. It is believed that the risk of HIV-infection is higher with homosexual intercourse, especially for a passive partner during anal sex. The risk of acquiring HIV-infection increases if a person at the same time has another sexually transmitted disease.
It is important to remember that the person can get the HIV-infection only by the above mentioned ways. It is impossible to get the virus through shaking hands, using one dish while eating, sneezing, kissing, hugging, biting insects, including mosquitoes.
As well it is important to remember that despite all the achievements of medicine in this matter, HIV-infection remains a serious disease. You need to understand this topic well in order to maintain your health and your loved ones.

Stay healthy!

Sagib Kulbayev