Tuberculosis, Stigma and Drug Control: A case from Russia

By Mikhail Golichenko, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

February 4, 2016

In December 2015, I attended a judicial workshop on human rights and tuberculosis (TB) organized by the University of Chicago Center in Delhi. It was a great gathering of civil society activists, judges, lawyers and medical practitioners from more than ten countries including Australia, Canada, Russia and South Africa. Participants discussed the legal and human rights challenges concerning TB, including the human rights of the most vulnerable populations, which very often overlap with populations of people living with or vulnerable to HIV. Stigma and discrimination were among the topics of the two-day discussion. I shared my long experience with a case which represents one of the clearest examples of how stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs, people living with HIV and people living with TB feed into the state’s inability to ensure an adequate response to TB.

I wrote this piece [edited in English for clarity] on behalf of the Moscow-based Andrey Rylkov Foundation (ARF) over a year ago, but the issue is still current and just as important. The original text is published in Russian on the ARF website.

ARF is a long-time strategic litigation partner of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network in Russia. I wrote the piece with great respect and sympathy for all the civil society activists in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and other Russian cities who continue fighting for the human rights of vulnerable populations in Russia.