Response stories

Discrimination of military personnel due to HIV status

The REAct documentator was approached by a client – a military serviceman who was being treated at a local hospital. During the treatment, the young man was tested for the entire infectious panel.

Later, after receiving the results, the client and the paramedic came to the local AIDS center for ART. The doctor knew about the diagnosis and after counseling the young man, he began to ask how he should behave now, given the client’s HIV-positive status. The paramedic asked if the man needed to be separated from his unit; what to do with other guys; how to behave in a soldier’s life and whether to talk about this diagnosis at all. During such “interrogation”, the client was embarrassed and felt like a leper.

At the client’s request, the documentator conducted an informational consultation with a paramedic regarding general questions about HIV. The doctor was informed about the inadmissibility of disclosing the patient’s medical data and about the responsibility for such behavior. The man was also consulted regarding the responsibility for manifestations of stigma and discrimination against HIV+ persons, which is provided for by the Law of Ukraine.

During the conversation, the young military, having received support from the documentator, expressed an irresistible desire to remain in the ranks of the Armed Forces and asked for legal advice regarding his rights in order to feel more secure.

After assuring the client that if a person is registered, receives treatment, and expresses a desire to remain in the ranks of the Armed Forces, military doctors cannot initiate the release of a soldier from an active army unit, the man cheered up and has now received documents for transfer to another unit, which he dreamed of joining before. He realized that stigma and discrimination in medical or military institutions could not be barriers to walking together to victory!