Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus and The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation

Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus and The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation are signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) office in Belarus


Established by WHO and UN General Assembly, World AIDS Day is celebrated worldwide on December 1. The Day became one of the most important international healthcare-related events, and one of the key opportunities to raise awareness, pay tribute to those lost to the disease and celebrate such achievements as expanding access to treatment and prevention of this infection. Over the last 20 years, a lot of evidence has been collected to prove that HIV treatment is a highly effective way of combating the virus, turning HIV into a chronic disease.  Thanks to treatment, the virus can be controlled and transmission prevented, allowing people living with HIV and people at risk to live a long, full and healthy life.

Today, people do not have to die from AIDS. The legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev died from AIDS back when there was no treatment… What happened to Rudolf Nureyev must not happen again today.

However, discrimination and stigma against HIV-positive people stop many from taking an HIV-test and receive treatment on a regular basis. In Belarus, an estimated 6,000 people living with HIV do not receive treatment and about 5,000 are unaware of having HIV. Debunking the myths and breaking the stereotypes about HIV/AIDS with the help of ballet dancers and the popularity of Bolshoi Theatre will help motivate people for HIV testing and facilitate adherence to treatment.

#ARTforHealth is a campaign aimed at raising awareness about HIV infection and antiretroviral treatment opportunities, promoting the “Undetectable = untransmittable” (U=U)* message, and creating a cooperation model for government, private sector, civil society, international funds and UN system to implement joint social initiatives.

The campaign will be run from October 10 to December 1 and will include a series of workshops on HIV prevention, workshops for ballet lovers, a social media marathon, public screening of “The White Crow” directed by Ralph Fiennes, and charity fundraising. The campaign will end on December 1 in Bolshoi Theatre with a photo expo in memory of Rudolf Nureyev and performance of the ballet “Orr and Ora” (staged by A. Tikhomirova, music by M. Krylov).

Anyone can participate in the campaign by purchasing a ticket for the performance at or by clicking “donate” at the same website. Part of the funds will be transferred to the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Belarus for helping people living with HIV.

The press-conference will feature: Vladimir Gridyushko, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus, Vinay Saldanha, regional director of  Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Dmitry Pinevich, First Deputy Minister of Healthcare, Claude Blum, President of The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, Alexander Kasinsky, CEO of “Kvitki Bel” LLC, Aleksandr Opimakh, Head of Multilateral Diplomacy and Global Partnership Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Leading artists of Bolshoi Theatre – People’s Artist of Belarus Irina Yeromkina and Merited Artist of Belarus Anton Kravchenko.

Key partners: Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Belarus, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus, “Kvitki Bel” LLC, Belarusian TV and Radio Company, CJSC “Second National TV Channel” etc.

Organizing team: Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus, The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Belarus.

*if a person with HIV gets regular treatment, the amount of virus in their blood drops to a minimum (so called “unidentifiable viral load”). HIV Infected people with unidentifiable viral load cannot transmit HIV to other people sexually: U=U “Undetectable = untransmittable”.