European physicians condemn impact of Russian anti-gay law on HIV prevention and care.
14th. European AIDS Conference opens with strong political statements
By: Keith Alcorn
Published 16 October 2013
The recent Russian anti-gay law is receiving strong criticism from the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS), an organization that claims that this law represents a discriminatory policy environment against gay men, lesbians and transgender people.
The Clinical Society indicated that the law will result in harmful public health policy because "it adds to the existing barriers related to HIV prevention, diagnosis, access and retention in care."
Although President Putin has insisted that there is no discrimination against gay people in Russia, the controversial law has been condemned because it is perceived to stigmatize and marginalize alternative sexualities.
Nathan Clumeck, co-chair for the 14th European AIDS Conference indicated that scientists have a moral obligation to say what is unethical.
Tamas Bereczy, a member of the European AIDS Treatment Group, noted that people with HIV can make an impact "if they see that they can get support from physicians." He continued by saying that these laws keep people silent and that "silence is still death."
The United Kingdom's Primer Minister, David Cameron, has tried to discuss the issue with President Putin, but Russia is not willing to listen. Professor Michel Kazathchkine, United Nations Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, stated that the European Union has to remain strong on its ethical stance "against homophobia, xenophobia and discrimination."
The statements that the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) is issuing against the Russian anti-gay law are very powerful. HIV/AIDS/ has had a great impact on society as a public health problem and the lack of reliable information could be a source of discrimination. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV are crucial to secure a healthy life.
This article describes potentially serious health risks for gay people in Russia as a consequence of a law that will prevent people from seeking appropriate medical care and even more importantly, from not being able to know how to proactively prevent AIDS.