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January 28, 2008

Russian Prisoners Denied HIV Treatment

Roughly 42,000 HIV-positive prisoners are not receiving proper treatment due to poor patient education, lack of physicians and bureaucratic barriers, reports The Moscow Times (moscowtimes.com, 1/24).

According to the article, most positive patients in Russia are tested for the first time upon prison entry. Once incarcerated, they receive little if any post-test counseling and treatment education. While federal prison officials say that antiretroviral drugs and other forms of treatment are administered, The Moscow Times reports that prison medical officials are often lax when it comes to promoting treatment adherence.

“Prison doctors can offer treatment, but they will not persuade each inmate to undergo it,” says Yelena Panasenko, a coordinator of support groups with HIV/AIDS in the Saratov region. Panasenko adds that very few non-governmental organizations are fighting for prisoner antiretroviral programs.


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