At the High-Level Meeting on AIDS, a Ukrainian activist spoke about her migration experience

On June 8, the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS was opened. On the eve of the official opening, on June 7, a session “Addressing HIV among people on the move in times of COVID-19” dedicated to the problems of migration was held, and Valeria Rachinskaya, a member of the Coordinating Council of “100% Life”, the biggest Ukrainian patient organization, spoke there about her experience of migration.

“Nobody wants to suffer, get sick and die”, – said Valeria. – “Of course, people will strive for a better life.  Look at me, I am internally displaced mother of two. And this is an illusion that you can stop me from saving my kids’ lives. We must save people’s lives and health. The greatest value is human life.”

The activist highlighted that the COVID-19 epidemic in the beginning of 2020 brought us new challenges: “We saw interruptions or hindered access to prevention and treatment services due to movement restrictions caused by COVID 19, and we understand that movement restrictions and entry bans, deportation still exist for HIV positive people in many countries around the world. In addition, in many countries, IDPs and/or refugees are not eligible for COVID 19 vaccinations.

We still do not know how many of the two hundred and eighty one million people on the move are living with HIV or flee their countries because one can face the death penalty for being MSM or transgender, or being sex worker who cannot stay in their homeland because of criminalization of their work. To be able to help and protect those in vulnerable situations we need to know this information in as much detail as possible.”