Homophobia against people and science: why the "scandalous" AIDS study was canceled
In the Voronezh region, an electronic auction related to the study of the regional AIDS Prevention and Control Center under the name that has surprised many people was canceled - "The provision of services for the organization and conduct of biobehavioral research in a key population - men who have sex with men"
They say that the instruction came from the “top” - from the governor of the Voronezh region Alexander Gusev, on which local media began to post offensive photo-toads.
“What have we not heard enough of in recent days,” complained “NI”, a representative of the Budgetary Institution of Health “Voronezh Regional Clinical Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS,” Olga Firsova . - Journalists from the federal media called with malicious hints, just men who offered themselves for research for money, bloggers trying to find out how we would select men who have sex with men. Many generally understood this as "procurement for the governor." A photo-toad with our governor, surrounded by half-naked men, appeared and instantly went online. I do not know what a perverted mind one must possess in order to suggest such a thing! As a result, we were forced to cancel the auction due to a campaign launched by the media, including federal ones. I don’t understand, as a person and as a doctor, what is surprising and sensational in that we conduct a study to prevent the spread of AIDS? Yes, we have a program in the field related to this area. Perhaps this is why the number of HIV-infected people in our country is not large compared to other regions of Russia. Of course, we will resume this auction after some time, because it is part of the work of the Voronezh Regional Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS. Perhaps we will change the wording. ”
In general, the essence of the “hype” of colleagues on this topic is not entirely clear. Such auctions are held in all regions of Russia. Only research names are more veiled. As explained by Tamara Sitnik , deputy head physician for epidemiology at the Voronezh Regional Clinical Center for AIDS Prevention and Control , HIV prevention programs are international and are included in all regulatory documents. “The study uses a methodology that is consistent with WHO recommendations. The study is conducted in groups that are at higher risk of infection. This includes, in particular, persons in places of deprivation of liberty, under supervision, but not in prison, persons without a fixed place of residence, as well as those who provide sexual services for a fee, and drug users. ”
Similar studies are conducted in Russia at least once every five years. The essence of the study is simple: people undergo anonymous interviewing on a specific questionnaire. After that, study participants are asked to take an HIV test.
“Our last year’s study showed that we have a hidden epidemic in a group of men who have sex with men, so we decided to repeat it this year to make sure that this is true,” Tamara Sitnik said.
Now this study will have to be postponed indefinitely. Our society, unfortunately, was not ready to objectively and calmly discuss the problems of homosexuality and everything that could accompany it. Who is better from this? Journalists had a happy night and calmed down, making a "sensation" out of nothing. How many people as a result of such a hype will be at risk of a potential AIDS infection - none of our colleagues care.
“They called me from the Moscow-24 TV channel and asked me to comment on this auction in Voronezh. I refused. Because I have already seen and knew how this topic is presented in the state media, ”said Igor Kochetkov, human rights activist, director of the Sphere charity foundation , told NI. - People who were outraged or surprised by the fact of holding such an auction are actually wild and uneducated. In general, fools should often be called fools. Such studies have been carried out in Russia for a long time, because it is no secret to anyone that our country has a real AIDS epidemic, the situation is comparable with some African states. The fact that state medicine is engaged in such studies is a very encouraging fact; one can only be proud of it. In addition, the amount that the State Center requested for the study - 250 thousand rubles, is not so significant in our time. People who laughed at this auction, hyped, mocked, in fact, they themselves may be in a similar situation. Who hurt? Yourself. "
For reference: the number of HIV-infected in Russia at the beginning of 2020, according to Rospotrebnadzor, amounted to 1.06 million people.