During these challenging times, we need your support more than ever. AIDS.CENTER Foundation exists thanks to your donations. However, amid the COVID-19 crisis, many people are choosing to discontinue their support for nongovernmental organizations. Unfortunately, our NGO is not immune to this either.
We fully understand the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and are practicing self-isolation, protecting our staff and volunteers, and raising awareness on social media. However, we also believe that the HIV epidemic is no less important. While the COVID-19 crisis is expected to abate in the future, HIV will continue to spread across the country, just as it has been doing in the last few decades. Now, Russia is ranked fifth for the HIV transmission rate in the world. Experts have estimated that there are 1.5 million people living with HIV in our country.
As before, we’re doing our best to generate positive change. Last summer, we launched an accessible HIV and hepatitis C testing program. In Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, people from various local communities are coming to us to get tested. Often, they have nowhere else to receive help from or are afraid of facing prejudice and discrimination at governmental institutions. Many of these people are immigrants, former convicts, gay men, or transgender persons.
We do not want and, in fact, do not have the right to abandon our legacy and lose the trusting relationship we’ve formed with our community.
We switched to home-working well in advance, however, our staff members who are responsible for the testing program continued to test people in our offices until the last moment. People willing to get tested continued to come as well. Our support groups have fully transitioned online, and we believe that now, in isolation, they’re needed more than ever.
We had to postpone our upcoming 6th Vera HIV Med School and are prepared to implement it as soon as citizens are allowed to leave their houses and gather in groups again. Our helpline continues to accept calls while our website is publishing articles that aren’t exclusively focused on HIV but also analyze medical and social aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this allows us to continue fostering the community that we’ve created over the few years of our existence. Every single one of our members understands the significance of our resilience and supports our current efforts.
We do not want and, in fact, do not have the right to abandon our legacy and lose the trusting relationship we’ve formed with our community. We feel responsible to all the people who attend our support groups, use our helpline, come to get tested, rely on our support, and contribute to our mission.
We strongly believe that you will choose to support us at this difficult time by subscribing to our monthly donation program or by making a one-time payment. Even if the amount seems insignificant to you, it will help us immensely and will enable us to maintain all our employees and reward them for their exceptional work.
Please share this message with your friends and colleagues. Your help will allow us to stay resilient and productive.