Efforts to help AIDS patients receiving drug substitution therapy in Ukraine are reportedly being hampered by the Ukrainian government’s recent moves to gather patients’ health information and HIV status.
Ukraine’s government is requiring patients who receive drug substitution therapy to participate in a survey, according to AlertNet. The government is summoning officials of non-governmental organizations that support the therapy programs and asking them to submit documents to the police, the news agency adds.
“This is a very worrying situation which is negatively impacting HIV prevention programs in Ukraine – doctors don’t want to get involved in substitution therapy programs, injecting drug users are afraid to become substitution therapy patients, and even for NGOs this situation is becoming personally dangerous to be involved in,” says Andriy Klepikov, head of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, as quoted by AlertNet.
The government’s action follows the approval of a new law aimed at addressing the HIV epidemic in Ukraine, the news agency notes.
Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, also of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, noted that the government’s efforts violate the rights of people on substitution therapy.
“Collecting individuals’ personal data including their HIV status is a violation of people’s human rights. Substitution therapy is legal in Ukraine and stopping former drug users from taking their medication is cruel and dangerous,” he said.