Response stories

Stigma in a medical institution due to HIV status

Oksana faced stigma and discrimination from health care staff and denial of medical care. The woman suffered a leg injury and sought medical help at a regular polyclinic for an appointment with a surgeon, where she was denied help when a health worker learned that she was a drug addict and had HIV-positive status.

The doctor said to go to “her hospital”, where everyone is as clumsy and contagious as she is because they don’t have time to take care of everyone here, especially since she has HIV and has to be treated in an infectious disease hospital.

Oksana turned for help to the paralegal of the All-Ukrainian Association of Drug-Addicted Women “VONA”, a documentator of the REAct project, who took the situation under support.

The next day, the paralegal helped the woman and referred her to a friendly local hospital, to the surgical ward, where the woman was examined by a surgeon and prescribed treatment.

In the case of stigmatization and discrimination, non-provision of medical care to the patient, a complaint was filed with the management of the HCF against the surgeon’s actions regarding the violation of the right to medical care. Based on the results of the complaint, a decision was made to discipline the doctor and a reprimand was issued for failing to provide proper medical care. The doctor was also instructed to undergo a training course to overcome stigma and discrimination.