December 2nd, 2005
| | http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/12/...positive.shtml
A Russian woman has received an award as winner of Russia’s first beauty pageant for women living HIV, intended to combat stigma in the country with Europe’s highest infection rate, AFP reported Thursday. |
“Svetlana Izambayeva is the winner of the ”Miss Positive“ competition, said Ekaterina Militskaya, an AIDS advocate from the East-West AIDS Foundation who is involved in organising the award ceremony.
But ”Svetlana is the only of the winners to agree to meet with the press,“ Militskaya added, saying two other women — Ekaterina from Orenburg and Sofia from Moscow — would not attend the ceremony and refused to give their surnames.
The award is timed to coincide with World Aids Day on Thursday.
Izambayeva, 24, is a single woman from the central city of Cheboksary who works as a hairdresser and is studying at a local agricultural academy, organizers said, adding that she was not a drug user. Svetlana was diagnosed with HIV in 2002 after a seaside love affair.
Stigma associated with HIV in Russia is still strong and the level of information about the disease among the Russian public is low, though official attention to the problem of high infection rates is increasing.
Dozens of competition participants sent photographs to a magazine called Steps for people living with HIV, which were published on a website and then voted on by visitors to the site.
”It was a revolutionary step for HIV-positive people in Russia... In society as a whole there is fear of people with HIV, of infection, and they wanted to show they are the same people as us,“ Militskaya said of the beauty pageant.
The proportion of Russians with HIV has nearly doubled to 231 per 100, 000 from 121 per 100, 000 in 2001, Reuters added.
Click on the link boys and take a look at what HIV looks like and remember it. Even the most beautiful woman can kill you without even trying if you step off unprotected.