Russian HIV community centres in Moscow, Voronezh, Kaluga, Kursk, Orel and Vladimir have received 35 000 bottles of Dettol hand sanitizer donated as part of an initiative by Reckitt Benckiser. The donation was made in the light of the increasing COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the increase in other viral diseases, and is a joint effort of the Reckitt Benckiser office in the Russian Federation and the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The nongovernmental organizations Medical Volunteers, Volunteers to Help Orphans and Center Plus also partnered in the initiative, distributing the donations to the community centres.
“This is very timely support for people from key populations, those who are at risk and work on the front lines of the fight against both pandemics, HIV and COVID-19, as well as those who do not have an opportunity to take care of themselves on their own,” said Vladimir Mayanovsky, head of Center Plus.
A study conducted by the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor (the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing), in cooperation with the Treatment Preparedness Coalition with the support of UNAIDS, found that the number of people living with HIV with COVID-19 markers was four times higher than that of HIV-negative respondents. And people living with HIV were two times less likely than HIV-negative respondents to be tested for coronavirus and less often sought medical help, even if they had symptoms.
The study also found that the majority of respondents living with HIV were found to have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, owing to the significant number of infections in their neighbourhood and their low level of use of personal protective equipment, and underestimated their personal risk of COVID-19 disease. Hand sanitizer can help to protect people from contracting the coronavirus.
“Reckitt Benckiser’s mission is to protect, heal and nurture, creating a cleaner and healthier world. In the countries where we operate, we strive to promote the idea of a responsible attitude to health and consider hygiene to be the basis of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important simple habits. For Reckitt Benckiser, this is more than a business, it is a contribution to a healthier and happier future,” said Igor Radakovich, the General Director of Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.
“UNAIDS welcomes and supports such initiatives from the private sector in the fight against the colliding epidemics. We are ready for further cooperation with Reckitt Benckiser in the field of health. We share Reckitt Benckiser’s vision given in its slogan for educational initiatives in the Russian Federation, “Your health is your responsibility”, not only in terms of COVID-19 prevention but also HIV prevention by the promotion of condom use,” said Alexander Goliusov, Director, a.i., of the UNAIDS Regional Support Group for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.