Support and protection for a vulnerable woman living with HIV in Tajikistan

A 66-year-old woman named Nilufar (name changed) living with HIV sought help from REACTors. An acquaintance who was facing stigma and discrimination told her about the services provided by paralegals and Nilufar asked to listen.

The woman shared her life story, describing how she cared for her elderly father until his death two years ago. She was left with a small but dilapidated house but lived in a nursing home where she loved it. However, her world came crashing down when the administration learned of her positive HIV status. She was kicked out, citing potential health risks to other residents despite her adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

After learning about Nilufar’s dramatic situation, the REActor provided her with emotional and psychological support. She talked about HIV/AIDS, prevention of transmission, and treatment methods. Realizing the need for legal assistance, the paralegal offered the services of a psychologist and a lawyer, to which Niloufar agreed. After consulting with the specialists, Niloufar expressed concern about possible repercussions from the institution’s administration. Undaunted, the REactor took the initiative and approached the institution to address the violation of the rights of people living with HIV and more general human rights.

Unfortunately, the management of the institution was unavailable at the time of her visit. Nevertheless, the paralegal introduced herself, explained the purpose of the visit, and highlighted potential human rights violations. The staff of the institution, while recognizing the situation, stated their inability to change the existing rules. Undeterred, the REActor took the initiative. Realizing Niloufar’s vulnerability and her inability to fight, she was provided with alternative accommodation. A room was found in an apartment with a responsive landlady, saving the woman from additional suffering.

Niloufar’s story highlights the important role of REActors in supporting key groups. Despite resistance, the paralegal’s intervention provided concrete support. This case draws attention to the broad challenges faced by people living with HIV in Tajikistan and emphasizes the importance of continuing efforts to combat discrimination and rights violations.

As part of the regional campaign “Push forward! To end violence against women and girls”, REAct organized a series of webinars on how to counteract gender-based violence and how to qualitatively help women who come forward. Recordings of webinars in English, Ukrainian, and Russian are available below. In 2023, we encourage new listeners to view the webinar recordings. From November 25, 2023 to January 31, 2024, each participant receives a unique opportunity to take a short test and receive a personalized online certificate.

Visit useful materials on the REAct website for more useful courses and publications. Operative data regarding human rights violations of vulnerable to HIV/AIDS communities are availableis available as well on country data factsheets. Read more success stories of response here