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Message Ukrainian soldiers are suffering from HIV en masse because they are offered free testing

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that one of the local clinics in Kharkiv is providing free HIV testing. Consequently, propagandists sum up: since a free test is offered in Ukraine, it means that there is an outbreak of infection among the military. They also add that the cause is poor-quality blood, which was previously supplied by NATO countries to Ukraine. And they add “photo evidence” to the messages - one of the announcements about testing for the detection of HIV infection.

Fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project began to analyze this case and explained that HIV testing in Ukraine is free. All Ukrainians have the right to use this opportunity. Actually, according to the new version of the law on combating HIV, everyone on the territory of Ukraine has the right to free medical care and provision of antiretroviral drugs for treatment. The authors of the fake message hint that the Ukrainian healthcare system is suffering at the hands of “unprofessionals” and are intimidated by various diseases that are breaking out in Ukraine. However, the fact-checkers emphasize that free HIV testing indicates the relative quality and stability of the medical system of Ukraine. Testing is one of the elements of disease regulation or its timely detection.

By the way, in the first 6 months of 2023, the volume of HIV testing services increased by 52.7%, which even exceeded the pre-war figures. As a reminder, free HIV testing can be done at one’s family doctor, therapist or pediatrician.

In addition, Russian propaganda has repeatedly manipulated the issue of providing blood in the state. Thus, the Kremlin is trying to create a false impression that there is not enough blood in Ukraine, there is not enough of it, and therefore it is impossible to heal the army qualitatively. Among other things, in the opinion of consumers, misinformation was also suggested that they supposedly supply infected blood to Ukraine. That is, they portrayed the image of Ukraine as a state in which international partnership is not interesting. They also wrote that the Verkhovna Rada “orders” Ukrainians to donate blood. Women of Ukrainian fighters complain that their men are being transfused with “Russian blood”. And in general they explained that Ukrainians forbid foreign citizens to become blood donors. And with such messages, the authors fed the classic narrative about the existence of “Ukrainian Nazis”.

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