AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Russia recently went to ends of the earth (literally) to fight HIV by supporting testing events inside the Arctic Circle that reached residents in Dubinka, Russia’s northernmost city, as well as isolated indigenous communities.
The city where AHF implements testing and clinical programs was also this year’s gathering spot for Reindeer Herder Day—a holiday and festival that brings indigenous peoples together from the surrounding areas. Many people travel several hours—some by reindeer—to reach the city, which is also the world’s most distant international seaport.
“It is very important to provide people with access to healthcare, information and prevention,” said Dr. Liudmila Liakohova, a physician with AHF-partner and event organizer, Taymyr Regional Hospital. “Due to harsh weather and nomadic lifestyles [of indigenous people], this event is an amazing opportunity for them to access HIV and STI testing with immediate results thanks to Rapid Testing.”
In addition to the testing in Dudinka, AHF and Taymyr Regional Hospital also held a separate testing session in a nearby town for those who could not attend the holiday event. In total, almost 200 people were tested for HIV and STIs and given information on how to continue accessing healthcare services.
“We are proud that AHF is providing services and support in such distant locations,” AHF Russia Country Program Director Natalia Mironova said. “This is a critical for populations that are so difficult to reach—and we’re thankful to our partners and volunteers who have made it such a success!”