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TV Host Comes Out Poz in Russian TV First

TV Host Comes Out Poz in Russian TV First

Pavel Lobkov

Presenter says he is the first public figure to reveal his status. 

In a remarkable first for Russia, a television presenter came out as HIV positive during a show to mark World AIDS Day. 

Pavel Lobkov, a TV host for the independent station Dozhd, said he has been HIV positive since 2003. According to Pink News, Lobkov found out his status before his doctor could tell him when he saw "HIV+" written on his medical file. The doctor then told him he could no longer be treated at that clinic. 

"The doctor, with a face like a Soviet buddha, told me: 'You can no longer use the program of voluntary medical insurance because you’ve been diagnosed with HIV. Your case will be transferred to the Moscow healthcare committee. All the best. Goodbye," said Pavel, according to the Washington Post.

While many, including Russian gay rights activists praised Lobkov for his annoucement, he also received abuse, mostly online. Despite the backlash of homophobic slurs he has received, Lobkov said that his annoucement was a great achievement. 
"Today, I accomplished a serious feat in my life," he said. 

He also said on Facebook that he would continue to fight "medieval attitudes" and "total everyday lying," in response to the abuse he has received, according to Pink News. 

Pavel's annoucement comes at a time when HIV rates and attacks on LGBT people continue to rise in Russia. Between 800,000 and 1.3 million people in Russia are believed to be infected, according to UNAIDS, and Russia's Federal Center for AIDS puts the number at nearly 987,000.  

Many blame the policies of President Vladimir Putin for the increase in HIV infections, in particular the criminalization of methadone clinics and a ban on "propoganda of non-traditional sexual relations."

Watch the video fo Lobkov's annoucement (with English subtitles) below: 


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