Sasha Volgina

Sasha Volgina is a mother infected with HIV in Russia. Russia has the fastest growing hiv epidemic in the world, with a high percentage of 1 million people infected. But the virus is seen as a "disease of sinners” and the government ignores the problem. There are not enough drugs to help those who are infected. Sasha Volgina fights for the rights of these people who are infected with hiv in her country. "How many more must be infected before something changes?"

Amazement shows in Sasha’s eyes. She has probably heard is hundreds of times before, but it never ceased to impress her. She is a guest on a Talk Show and her antagonist, the chairman of a Children’s Rights Organization, denies the existence of hiv/aids. “There is no laboratory in the world that has ever discovered the virus.” Sasha is dumbfound for a second. An audience member seizes the moment: “It’s a disease of drug users. Why should we have to pay for their fun.?!” Sasha is clearly hurt by this. But it’s something she lives through every day. The denial of her disease. The shortage of medicine. But also: the confrontation with her past as a drug addict.

“We were unknowing fools.” Sasha explains in the film Sinner’s Disease. “We had no idea where heroin would take us.” It were the nineties; the Soviet Union was falling apart. There was no food. On the streets there was total chaos. Meanwhile, tons of heroin were imported. “For two dollars you could get a shot. An epidemic of drug users was the result.” Sasha thinks that if the government had then invested more in education and prevention of hiv/aids, the virus wouldn’t have been such a huge problem for Russia as it is know.