Ukraine on the front line against AIDS

Ukraine on the front line against AIDS
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Ukraine has Europe’s fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Sex workers are obviously at risk, with many of the women also using drugs.
But there is a disorganised array of organisations, targeting this vulnerable group.

With more than 167,000 HIV infections since 1987 and nearly 19,000 AIDS-related deaths, those infected seem resigned to their fate.

A group of injecting drug users gather daily at a syringe exchange point where volunteers distribute supplies of clean needles and condoms.

Volunteer Tatiana explains what she and her colleagues do to help.
“Every day we go to a set place and hand out syringes, condoms and give consultations (to injecting drug users). We also tell them which pharmacies provide these things and where they can visit specialists like dermatologists, gynaecologists and also a lawyer.”

Some drug users are also trying methadone-based opioid substitution therapy to wean themselves off their addiction – a programme which has government approval.

The treatment is having an impact but its expensive and insufficient and in danger of losing its funding in the current economic crisis