A story of anti-discrimination: how PLHIV have overcomed labeling in Northern Macedonia

n the real world, sometimes there are stories that make you think about the problems of our society. Let us tell you about a real case from Northern Macedonia that raises an important issue about discrimination and human rights.

One November day in 2022, a patient with HIV went to the Clinic of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for surgery. He honestly told the doctors about his HIV status and the medications he was taking. His viral load was undetectable, and the surgery was scheduled for the following month.

However, when the day of surgery arrived, something went wrong. The patient discovered that his paperwork, including his medical history and temperature sheet, had “HIV+” written in brightly colored letters. It was a shock – his personal information was visible to everyone in the operating room.

The staff of the “Stronger Together” association decided to take control of the situation and sent a letter to the clinic director, revealing the violation of patient rights and discrimination based on HIV status.

After the association’s appeal, meetings with clinic representatives were organized. And this is where the change in the tone of the story began. The clinic staff acknowledged the mistake and apologized to the patient and the association.

Additional steps were taken to prevent similar situations in the future. Clinic staff received additional training on patients’ rights and HIV-related discrimination.

To strengthen this positive dynamic, the association and the clinic signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Within the framework of this agreement, they organize workshops and training, expanding knowledge about HIV and the fight against discrimination.

The first workshop has already taken place, and this story continues to write new pages. It shows that even in difficult situations, change can be achieved when people come together for justice and respect.

If you face discrimination, stigmatization, or violence, remember you have rights. Contact us for help with REAct (Rights – Evidence – Actions).

Learn more about REAct

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