Is the HIV/AIDS situation in Ukraine stabilizing?
According to international experts, there are signs that the spread of HIV among high risk groups has stabilized. They attribute this to a programme aimed at HIV prevention as well as the implementation of support therapy within the HIV-positive milieu. At the same time, they highlight the main problems which still face Ukraine in overcoming the HIV-AIDS epidemic.
The International Alliance on Combating HIV-AIDS and UNAIDS say that the rate at which HIV-AIDS is spreading among high-risk groups – injecting drug addicts and women sex workers has slowed down significantly. Among positive factors is the increase in the number of HIV-positive Ukrainians using HIV therapy, and therefore able to live a full life.
However the statistics show that the positive moves do not mean that the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine will be stopped in the next few years since it is unlikely that the State will find the necessary funds for prevention and combating the disease.
According to Andriy Klepykov, Head of the International Alliances Projects, “funding is not allocated at the level planned in the relevant law. On a more positive note, international funding is increasing. We have already signed a new three-year agreement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, with the funding mainly aimed at preventive measures”.
Donors demand State involvement
On their part donors demand transparency in using funds provided, as well as cooperation between the authorities and civic organizations. The Head of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV, Volodymyr Zhovtyak, does not believe that these conditions are not being met. As far as State involvement is concerned, with insufficient public funding this is unrealistic
Therefore, while noting certain positive trends in the fight against AIDS, international and Ukrainian specialists are also seeking ways of resolving existing problems.
One other private charity “Anti-AIDS” has just had a second visit from the British pop star Elton John who is planning to organize cooperation with that and other charities fighting the spread of HIV.
From information at www.radiosvoboda.org