Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Paying the price for blind opposition to harm minimisation

Fighting HIV where no-one admits it's a problem - BBC News

Quite an amazing story here about the rapid rise of HIV - mainly amongst the straight population too, it seems - in Russia; largely due to conservative policies which completely oppose harm minimisation:
In an interview this month with Agence France-Presse he was even blunter, saying the Kremlin's policy of promoting traditional family values had failed to halt the spread of the virus. "The last five years of the conservative approach have led to the doubling of the number of
HIV-infected people," he said.
When Pokrovsky argued for the introduction of sex education in schools - a step resolutely opposed by presidential children's rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov - the head of Moscow City Council's health committee, Lyudmila Stebenkova, called him a "typical agent working against the national interests of Russia".
Pokrovsky's approach, she told the Russian newspaper Kommersant, would only increase children's interest in sex and lead to a surge of HIV and other diseases
And as for drugs - there'll be no needle exchange programs or methadone in that upright country.
in Russia methadone is banned. The World Health Organization may see the synthetic opiate as essential in combating heroin dependence, but in Russia anyone caught using it or distributing it can face up to 20 years in prison.
Health officials rely instead on narkologia, a traditional form of treatment that dates back to Peter the Great's attempts to fight alcoholism in the early 18th Century. In essence, this
approach consists of isolating the drug user during a month of detoxification, followed up with rehabilitation - including lectures, self-help groups, physiotherapy, diet advice and so on.

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