World AIDS Day is annually held on 1 December, in accordance with the decisions adopted in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations General Assembly. The date was established to inform people about the epidemic of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and to combat prejudice about the disease and discrimination against people living with HIV. It is also the day of memory of those who died from this disease.
According to 2017 UN data, the number of people living with HIV throughout the world is 36.9 million, while the number of new infections is 1.8 million. In 2017, about 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the issue of combating the spread of HIV infection is given special attention. The main related document was the Law “On Countering the Spread of Diseases Caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Legal and Social Protection of People Living with HIV”, adopted by the People’s Council of Donetsk People’s Republic on September 4, 2015. The state policy of counteracting HIV-related diseases is carried out through the development of financial and material support programs, special training of medical personnel, implementation of preventive measures, outreach on the principles of a healthy lifestyle, and development of international cooperation in this field.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, a number of measures are being implemented to protect children from AIDS. To this end, not only all expectant mothers, but also fathers are screened for HIV. HIV-positive women receive antiretroviral therapy, which results in a minimal risk of infecting a child. On the territory of the Republic, everyone is given the opportunity to undergo HIV testing free of charge and access to treatment.
Currently, the issue of prejudice against HIV-positive people is still acute. Often these people are victims of discrimination. Because of this, outreach activities are no less important than the prevention and treatment of the disease. Ensuring and protecting the rights and freedoms of HIV-positive citizens is a must in a developed and civilized society. The Donetsk People’s Republic, as a socially-oriented and law-based state, advocates for equality and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens and guarantees the full support and inadmissibility of discrimination against people at high risk of HIV infection and those living with HIV.