Moscow region experts told how to counter HIV on a regional scale
At mobile testing sites, you can quickly check your HIV status. / Press service of the AIDS Center MO
Countering the spread of HIV infection is one of the priority tasks for the government of the Moscow Region. Over the past two years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, activities implemented in the most difficult conditions and aimed at prevention, screening and providing medical care to patients with HIV in the region are being implemented in full.
"Knowing your HIV status is taking care not only about yourself, but also about the health of loved ones. We understand the importance of early diagnosis, so today in the Moscow Region every resident is provided with universal access to testing. In the Moscow Region, more than 25 percent of residents are examined annually, and this over 2 million people. To date, more than 1.7 million residents have already been tested," said Svetlana Strigunkova, First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Moscow Region.
In 2022, new mobile medical complexes equipped with the most modern equipment began their work. As Aleksey Sapanyuk, Minister of Health of the Moscow Region, noted, the use of such complexes increases the availability of qualified medical care, for example, for people with limited mobility or socially vulnerable categories of citizens. Residents of suburban areas can now take an HIV test free of charge and anonymously and get expert advice near their home or place of work.
Carrying out annual preventive measures by the Ministry of Health of the Moscow Region helps to maintain a high level of awareness of the population about HIV infection, since information is one of the most important tools for curbing the spread of HIV infection.
An interesting study was conducted by specialists from the Moscow Regional Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS and Infectious Diseases. It turned out that a high percentage of the surveyed residents of the Moscow region correctly answered questions regarding the difference between the concepts of HIV and AIDS, ways of transmitting the virus and methods of protection. However, the vast majority absolutely does not allow the thought: "HIV can affect me, my relatives and even acquaintances." Meanwhile, most new cases of infection are detected in people aged 35-50, socially active, educated, family.
Therefore, in 2022, the activities of doctors are also accompanied by a social campaign on television, on the Internet, branches of the Russian Post and My Documents multifunctional centers, on buses and trains, on outdoor advertising billboards. With the help of a large-scale campaign "HIV test is a win-win option", residents of the region are motivated to take the test, explaining that, whatever the result of the test, the benefit from it is unequivocal. A person will either recognize the diagnosis in time and be provided with treatment and support, or once again think about HIV and adjust their risks. It is important to remember that knowing your HIV status is taking care not only about yourself, but also about the health of your loved ones.
The fight against HIV infection in the Moscow region has always been a priority, which has been repeatedly noted at the federal level. In 2020, the AIDS Center received gratitude from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation for carrying out preventive measures, and in the All-Russian competition of professional skills among centers for the prevention and control of AIDS, held by the Ministry of Health of Russia, the Moscow Region repeatedly won prizes in various categories.
There is a cure!
If the HIV test still turned out to be positive, this, of course, will change a person's life, introducing certain restrictions. However, we must remember: today HIV is not a sentence, but a controlled chronic disease. A pill that would completely rid a person of HIV has not yet been created. But does this mean that there is no need for treatment? The specialists' answer is unequivocal: antiretroviral therapy prescribed as soon as possible after diagnosis improves the quality and life expectancy of patients and is a means of preventing further spread of HIV infection.
Financing allocated from the budget of the Moscow Region for prevention, diagnosis and treatment activities makes it possible to successfully fulfill the tasks of the State Strategy to Combat the Spread of HIV Infection in the Russian Federation and the State Program "Health of the Moscow Region" at a high level. The Moscow region is a region of Russia in which, in accordance with modern clinical guidelines, the appointment of antiretroviral therapy is carried out on the day of confirmation of the diagnosis. Treatment is provided to residents of the region free of charge.
20 years ago, the HIV infection rate in the Moscow region was the highest in the country, today the figure is consistently below the national average
The result of the implementation of national programs is an annual decrease in the number of new cases, an increase in the life expectancy of patients, as well as the possibility of obtaining universal access to treatment. According to Alexander Pronin, chief physician of the AIDS Center, chief freelance specialist of the Ministry of Health of the Moscow Region on HIV infection, more than 20 years ago, the incidence rate in the Moscow region was the highest in the country. Today, the figure is consistently below the national average.
The key to successful work is not only the preservation and development of the personnel potential of the regional AIDS service, but also the full support of the governor and the government of the Moscow Region. The most anticipated event for both specialists and all patients is the commissioning of a new building.
"It will be an outpatient clinic built according to new standards, equipped with the most modern medical equipment, designed to receive adults and children, which will expand the possibility of receiving specialized medical care for people living with HIV. Reception will be carried out by specialized infectious disease doctors and doctors of narrow specialties Patients will have access to a wide range of diagnostic studies, such as: computed tomography, X-ray, ultrasound and endoscopic studies," said Svetlana Strigunkova.
Life is full
According to experts, people living with HIV constantly need the attention of doctors, social support and legal support. And, of course, contact with the professional community is important.
“It is important for our patients to exercise their right to be parents. In the Moscow Region, the birth of children in women living with HIV occurs in exactly the same way as in women without HIV infection, in all maternity wards of municipalities in the region according to current standards,” said Alexander Pronin "Together with the obstetrics and gynecology service of the region, we are successfully implementing perinatal prevention programs. If a woman follows all the recommendations of specialists, then the child is born healthy."
Issues related to conception deserve special attention. And specialists from the Moscow Regional Research Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology help with this. As the reproductive specialist Kamila Isakova told RG, both patients with identified infertility and discordant couples, where one of the partners is infected, apply to the institute. Such couples undergo a full examination and offer the procedure of intrauterine insemination. In couples where both spouses are infected, an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure is offered. In the Moscow region, IVF procedures are carried out free of charge within the framework of compulsory medical insurance.
The news of the presence of HIV infection is almost always stressful. And it concerns not only health issues, but also relationships with other people, employers, society as a whole. "A large section of my work is connected with the requests of our patients. We provide legal support in any life situation," said Elena Kalinkina, legal adviser of the AIDS Center of the Moscow Region. The specialists of the Center conduct explanatory work with employers about the legal consequences of illegal dismissal, about the absence of epidemiological contraindications to work.
Improving access to the necessary services and programs in the field of social support and health protection occurs, including with the help of public organizations. The Moscow Regional Branch of the All-Russian Public Movement "Medical Volunteers" and various patient organizations also work in the field of HIV prevention.
For example, specialists from the interregional public association "Positive Region" provide counseling and social support for people living with HIV. Volunteers of the Positive Region provided great assistance to their wards during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mikhail Bakulin, President of the Positive Region Regional Public Organization. They helped with the delivery of medicines to people who could not pick up the medicines on their own, accompanied patients to medical facilities, assisted with cleaning the apartment, buying food and medicines. According to Mikhail Bakulin, the experience of the Moscow region shows that thanks to the joint work of doctors and public organizations, properly structured social and legal support for people living with HIV reduces the level of stigma and discrimination.
The dissemination of information about the disease, the availability of testing and treatment, the creation of a tolerant environment for people living with HIV, not only reduce the rate of spread of HIV infection, but also strengthen the understanding in society that HIV infection today is a fully controlled and manageable disease, with which You can fully live, work, create a family.
But you need to start small - take an HIV test. After all, this, as you know, is a win-win option. You can take the test at the polyclinic at the place of residence or at the regional Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS.
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