Friendly Doctor System
Friendly Doctor is an innovative search platform for nearby doctors based in Ukraine. It was created in 2013 with an aim to compete with other HIV-services. What makes friendly doctors special is their unbiased attitude toward patients, like LGBT peope.
The system allows LGBT people and their partners access such vitalities like free HIV-testing, consultations with a range of professionals - dermatologist, psychologist, urologist, sexologist.
HIV-positive persons can apply for additional notifications about medication consumption and view a schematic on how to take the medicines and receive antiretroviral therapy.
Friendly Doctor project was founded by all-ukrainian charitable foundation Fulcrum as a response to ongoing homophobia and stigmatising behavior toward LGBT persons in public health institutions.
The project was founded by one of the Fulcrum non-governmental organisation executees at that time Bogdan Globa as a network of friendly to LGBT doctors around the country. The idea of having a special platform to find qualified and tolerant doctors found great support from other non-governmental organisations, such as Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, french charitable organisation Sidaction.
The first office of Friendly Doctor was opened in 2014 in Kyiv as a part of Jump Up! Initiative. The number of facilities around Ukraine grew rapidly - by the end of 2015 Friendly Doctor offices could be found in total of 9 cities - Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Odesa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Kherson, Chernigiv.
The list of available services offered to the community varies from region to region, but quick testing for HIV and other STIs for gay and bi-men is represented in every facility.
Additionally, the list of services provided by Friendly Doctors consists of:
- Psychologist consultation
- Urologist consultation
- Sexologist consultation
- Family doctor consultation
For gay and bi-men who are HIV-positive Friendly Doctor provides such services:
- Consultation and social support with the registration in the AIDS center;
- Psychological adaptation, learning to accept HIV status;
- A guide on how to receive antiretroviral therapy and continuing support;
- Financial assistance for the purchase of medicine (treatment of opportunistic infections) for persons with very severe financial situation.
In 2016 engine friendly doctors have counted 9 outdoor classrooms, which could come free HIV testing, particularly in cities such as Kyiv, Poltava, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Vinnytsia, Lviv.
Friendly Doctor bases its activity and philosophy on four main principles:security, location, qualified specialists, friendly to partnerships.
- Security: To receive any service no identification is necessary (due to sexual orientation being exposed) One can anonymously test for HIV or other STIs, or attend a consultation. All information is confidential and is not passed to third parties.
- Location: Offices are located outside of public health institutions - to provide independent and unbiased service. One can choose the preferred location online.
- Qualified specialists: Friendly Doctors are checked for their qualification and are trained and educated by Fulcrum NGO. Doctors are acquainted with issues LGBT people may encounter such as harassment, bullying, discrimination and are taught to act non-stigmatising.
- Friendly to partnerships: Friendly Doctor assures to provide quality service to same-sex couples or other unions that may encounter discrimination in public service institutions, thus creating a friendly atmosphere whilst receiving health services.
How it works
Friendly Doctor consists of two parts - the website and the offline facility. Online you can get a number of free services as a registered user such as
- Attendance history (date, time, doctor, office, type of service and result)
- Test results
- Ability to send test results to the partner or to a specified email
- Doctor recommendations
- Medical treatment scheme
- Chat with doctor
- Set up automatic reminders to take medicine (the system will send a reminder about the need to take drugs via sms or email)
- Treatment regimen support
- Share laboratory test results with the doctor
- Set up future appointments with the doctor
Officially claimed features for implementation in 2016
- Non-personalised notification of the HIV-infected person’s partner(s) about the possible risk of infection
- Track results dynamics
Friendly Doctor works in such a way that a wider range of service is offered to HIV-positive clients. A doctor puts a mark in a client’s account and then the client sees more options available:
- View a list of organizations in Ukraine and the region that provide services for people living with HIV (the list contains the specification on our services to MSM, or in general for HIV-positive people)
- Find related help groups, mentors, psychological support groups and other psycho-social assistance
- When a client is unable to pay for certain tests or buy necessary medicines they can claim for financial aid. Within 14 days after application is submitted the client receives confirmation or rejection.
- Access to online video course for HIV-positive MSM, clients can also test their knowledge
- View a library of resources and materials for HIV-positive MSM
According to Fulcrum’s annual report - in 2014 the services were provided to more than 180 persons; in 2015 - 2700 people and in the first half of 2016 - 1770.
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