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Activists complain to Russian Health Ministry over medical workers refusing to vaccinate people with HIV against COVID-19

Source: RBC

Some medical workers in Russia are refusing to vaccinate people with HIV against the coronavirus, the Moscow-based AIDS Center Foundation wrote in a letter to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko. As reported by RBC, the letter underscores that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) isn’t a contraindication for the use of the coronavirus jab. 

“In the context of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus infection […] the AIDS Center is registering cases of discrimination against people with HIV during vaccination,” the letter says, as quoted by RBC. “The practice of refusing to vaccinate people with HIV directly contradicts medical recommendations, and, first and foremost, the interests of patients.”

AIDS Center director Sergey Abdurakhmanov told RBC that of the 700 HIV patients who were seen by one of the doctors at the Moscow Regional Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS in June, 30 had been refused vaccination against COVID-19 because of their HIV status. 

The AIDS Center asked the Health Ministry to inform hospitals, clinics, and vaccination centers that it’s unacceptable to refuse vaccination to people with HIV.

The Health Ministry’s press office said that it has yet to receive the letter from the foundation.

According to data from Russia’s Federal AIDS Center, as of December 31, 2020, the HIV infection had been detected in 1.5 million people in Russia, of whom more than 388,000 have died. In 2020, 72,023 people in Russia were diagnosed with HIV, which is approximately 26 percent less than in 2019. However, Russia also conducted around 13 percent fewer HIV tests in 2020 than in 2019. 

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