Svetlana’s Story: A trip to the seaside at the age of 18, her first romance and an HIV diagnosis
SVERDLOVSK, RUSSIA - Throughout August & September 2011 an informational campaign titled “PLWH Message” (PLWH=People Living With HIV) was successfully launched in Sverdlovsk region within the framework of a rapid HIV testing project supported by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Leaflets were placed in buses and vans, which run between Yekaterinburg and small towns in Sverdlovsk region, Russia. This would not appear to be anything special, if it were not for two circumstances:
The very text of the leaflet is a letter addressed to Sverdlovsk region’s citizens from a young woman, Svetlana Izymbayeva from Kazan. It is addressed not only to HIV-positive people but also to those who think that this problem does not concern them. In her letter, Svetlana tells her story: a trip to the seaside at the age of 18, her first romance…and an HIV diagnosis. Svetlana recollects how she experienced the fear of what she thought was inevitable death and how her hope was revived when she found out about ARV (antiretroviral) treatment. Svetlana also tells about her life today: about her husband and children, about her dreams and plans for the future.
Leaflets were placed in 50 buses and route taxis which provide transport connection between towns within Sverdlovsk region, where HIV situation is extremely severe, meaning that a great number of PLWH requiring treatment live in this area.
Post by Guest Blogger, Mariya Kostaryeva, Sverdlovsk Regional AIDS Center, Russia