HIV Rates Fueled by Russian Anti-Gay Laws, Says NGO
I am a member of the Queer Russia Google Group and the following critical message shared yesterday is of grave concern to me, and that is why I'm posting practically all of it. The director of the non-governmental organization Phoenix PLUS is Evgeny Pisemskiy, who authored this report and the image is from the group's web site:
In mid-July 2013 an on-line community Parni Plus (Positive Guys) based in My World social network on Mail.Ru site, was blocked and deleted by the administration of the site two times without any prior notice.
The main objective of that on-line community was to provide information on sexual health and relationships to LGTB by publishing articles from Parni Plus. The site itself is marked “18+”, as required by the federal legislation, making it clear that the materials were aimed strictly at the adults. But even this did not prevent the Mail.Ru management from freely interpreting the law on “propaganda of untraditional relationships”.
When we asked which clause of the Agreement exactly was violated, the only answer was that the management is not required to provide this information. As far as we know, the management of Mail.Ru more than once demonstrated homophobic attitudes. That is why we view blockings of the on-line community as an indicator of how the Anti-Gay Law may be applied.
We would also like to remind you that before the Propaganda Law was passed, the Parni Plus team was refused to publish an educational booklet for men having sex with men (MSM). The booklet explores the issues of sexual health protection and is aimed at helping to deal with personal crisis of people living, or just diagnosed, with HIV. The refusal was also based on the infamous Propaganda Law.
Officials and business people alike are starting to view HIV prevention programs for MSM as “propaganda of homosexuality” and either ban them or hamper their realization “just to be on the safe side”.
Unavailability of information on health protection for population in general and for vulnerable social groups and people living with HIV will lead to further spread of socially significant diseases.
Some additional points about implications of the new law, in brief:
– Places for gay people (clubs and other) may be closed in the near future. Already these days the police checks of these places are happening more often than before. The proclaimed reason is the check for the drugs.
– Web resources: sites, groups in the social networks will be blocked.
– Printed informational materials can be not allowed for printing.
– MSM will be less motivated to turn to the governmental medical institutions for help. Especially since the other bad law was recently adopted in Russia that allows the Prosecutor’s offices to request and obtain the medical information about the person without getting permission from the court (as it was before).
It means that the information about the patients’ homosexuality that is available in the AIDS Centers can be disclosed. And this is the direct violation of the Russian Federation Constitution.