Border control loses immunity to HIV


Gleb Schelkunov / Kommersant

The government may revise the rules of entry to Russia infected foreigners.

As it became known “Kommersant”, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets instructed the Ministry of health, Ministry of interior and the CPS to consider the possibility of changing the conditions of entry and residence in the Russian Federation of foreign citizens infected with HIV. Now they are allowed entry and stay in Russia only if their close relatives are citizens of the Russian Federation. Instructed the Deputy Prime Minister, appeared after developed by the Ministry of health of the Russian Federation of a draft action plan for the implementation of the strategy of combating the spread of HIV in Russia disappeared paragraph about the possible removal of such restrictions that has been done at the insistence of the Ministry of Finance and economy. MS Golodets also instructed to study the issue of the provision of medical care for HIV-infected foreign citizens on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Deputy Prime Minister gave instructions (“b”) the Ministry of health jointly with the interior Ministry and Rospotrebnadzor “to study the advisability of revising the terms of entry, exit and residence of foreigners living with HIV, as well as organization of rendering medical care on the territory of the Russian Federation”. This is done by the following meeting of the Council under the government of the Russian Federation on issues of guardianship in the social sphere. The document notes that agencies should consider “taking into account proposals of members of the Council.”

Recall, entry and residence in the territory of the Russian Federation is prohibited for persons infected with HIV and who are not citizens of Russia. However, in 2016 at the request of the constitutional court, the ban was lifted for migrants with Russian family. The reason for the change in legislation was, in particular, the decision of the European court of human rights (ECHR), which in March 2016, acknowledged Russia guilty of violating the rights of HIV-positive foreigners. The ECHR decision noted that Russia is the only country of the Council of Europe and one of the 16 countries in the world, which carries out deportation of HIV-positive individuals who are not citizens. In Strasbourg emphasized the need for full non-discrimination of HIV-infected persons in Russia.

Member of the Board on guardianship in the social sphere, Petr Rodionov told “Kommersant” that the agencies, in particular, to review international experience and to see how effective the current limitations: “the rate of deportation has been operating since 1995 when the law was adopted N38 “On prevention of dissemination in the Russian Federation of the disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus”. For 20 years, has radically changed approaches to the treatment of the disease have changed the prognosis of the disease”. He noted that “today, any attempt to limit the spread of HIV by establishing restrictions often give the opposite effect.” So, according to him, many migrants knowing about their HIV positive status, but for fear of deportation, hiding the diagnosis, buying fake medical certificates, or “departing in an illegal space and permanently disappearing from the field of view of the Supervisory bodies”.

“Even after the deportation, many of them find a way back: changing your name and documents, enter into a fictitious marriage with a citizen of the Russian Federation”,– explains Mr. Rodionov. According to him, the epidemiological situation in Russia is aggravated by the fact that illegally residing in Russia, HIV-positive migrants lack access to medical care, self-medicate or not treated at all: “In this context is much more important to provide them with access to medical care. After all, if a foreign national receives necessary treatment in a timely manner passes all the tests it does not pose a threat to others, so there are no objective grounds for expulsion from the country.” Mr. Rodionov added that the need to define the terms, volumes and sources of financing of medical care: “It can be not only the personal funds of patient, but also, for example, the funds allocated in the framework of interstate agreements, or means of system of voluntary medical insurance”.

Note the point about the necessity to study the possibility of lifting restrictions on entry into, departure from and residence in Russia for foreign citizens with HIV was listed in the draft action plan for the implementation of the strategy of combating the spread of HIV in Russia, who in January was sent to the government of the Russian Federation. There were received and feedback on the document from the Executive power (“b”). At the insistence of the Ministry of interior and the Ministry of economy of the project plan currently, the paragraph about the possible removal of restrictions by 2018 was removed. According to agencies, the removal of restrictions will adversely affect national security in the sphere of protection of public health.

According to Rospotrebnadzor, in 2012-2016 the medical examination were more than 9.8 million foreign citizens. Identified over 37 thousand patients with infectious diseases, including HIV — 9284 (25%), TB patients — 12 786 (34.5 per cent), carriers of sexually transmitted infections, 002– 15 (40,5%). The staff of the CPS during this period took 15,5 thousand decisions about the undesirability of stay of such citizens in Russia, 37% of them-in connection with the presence of HIV infection.