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Russian HIV/AIDS Patients Detained At Protest

MOSCOW -- About 10 AIDS patients have been detained by police in front of the International Trade Center in Moscow demanding better treatment for HIV and AIDS patients in Russia, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

A protester who didn't want to give his full name told RFE/RL that the demonstration was timed to coincide with the opening at the trade center of an international forum devoted to the treatment of AIDS, tuberculosis, and other deadly diseases.

"There will be many officials, including presidential administration representatives [at the forum]," he said. "And they will report that Russia is [a leading country] in curing HIV patients but, in fact, we are not able even to obtain the necessary medication on a regular basis."

Another protester, Aleksandra Volgina, told RFE/RL that the main aim of the protest is to alert Russian officials to the problems faced by people who are HIV-positive.

"We do not have normal regulations for HIV treatment," she said. "There is always a shortage of the medication we are supposed to receive free of charge. Therefore, doctors have to change the course of treatment, which leads to a mutation in the HIV virus. We also have numerous problems undergoing regular tests. We have appealed to the Prosecutor-General's Office, but without success."

The activists chained themselves to lampposts in front of the International Trade Center and chanted, "HIV Is Treated at Random In Russia!" and, "Our Death Is Your Shame!"

Protesters also unfolded big signs saying "The Ministry Of Health Steals!" and, "Stop Guessing and Start Curing!"

Read more in Russian here