Russia is home to the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic. Driven by injection drug use, it is now becoming generalized. If you use injection drugs in Russia, you likely have HIV, hepatitis C, and more often than not, tuberculosis.
Although the Russian constitution grants the right to free access to health services in government facilities, it does not provide effective care to those who have these multiple infections. And it bans opioid substitution therapy—the most effective opiate addiction treatment.
In many ways, the story of Max, who you meet in this video, is typical of the hundreds of thousands of Russians who use drugs. As an intravenous drug user, he contracted HIV and hepatitis C.
But when Max was denied testing and treatment for his hepatitis C, he did something no Russian who uses drugs had done before—Max turned to the justice system.
Faced with the daunting task of taking on his region’s health system in court, Max used the Internet for help. He contacted the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Through online sessions with a lawyer who was more than 3,000 miles away, Max crafted his legal arguments and strategy.
Representing himself, Max sued the regional hospital in Tver that denied him testing, and won his case on appeal. The court ordered testing and treatment for him.
Max’s victory inspired him to help others confront the injustices they experience in health services. He co-founded a project at the Andrey Rylkov Foundation in which street outreach workers provide legal consultations for people who use drugs alongside offerings of clean needles and food.
In his outreach work, Max relies on the website Hand-Help.ru—a unique online resource that offers advice about ever-changing Russian drug laws to drug users, their friends, and their families. The site wants to correct a widespread lack of understanding of drug laws common not only among people who use drugs and the general population, but also law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges.
In a vast country like Russia, where accessing a lawyer is not always practical or possible, Hand-help is only a click away, offering accurate and up-to-date advice and information.
Armed with an innovative resource like Hand-help, and a conviction that Russians who use drugs should be treated as people worthy of respect, Max wants others to recognize their power.
“The most important thing,” Max says, “is strength in your own life—to fight for help, to stand up for something.”
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
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Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
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The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
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From time to time, we may email users of the Site or the Forum information regarding important developments affecting Namati and/or the Global Grassroots Justice Network. We may also email users on occasion regarding the Site or the Forum. Such emails may be sent to users of the Site or Forum even if they have not requested to receive any communication from us.
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Because Namati is concerned about the privacy protection of children who access the Internet, we comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Accordingly, the Site and Forum are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 13, and we do not knowingly collect information from anyone under 13 years of age without the consent of a parent or guardian.
We reserve the right to disclose any information to comply with any law, regulation, decree, judgment, order, subpoena or any other governmental order (“Order”) without any obligation to contest or verify the accuracy of such Order.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
The Site, the Forum, and any third party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
We may need to change the Policy from time to time in order to address new issues and to reflect changes on the Site or in the law. We reserve the right to revise or make any changes to the Policy, and your continued use of the Site subsequent to any changes to this Policy will mean that you agree to and accept such changes. You can tell if the Policy has been updated by checking the last revised date posted on the top of this page.
You can also access, remove, update or correct your information, and raise any questions or concerns regarding the Site or the Policy, by emailing email@example.com, or mailing:
Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.