(HN, December 1, 2011) - Today is World AIDS Day and the symbolic thirtieth anniversary of the epidemic.
Ukraine has the highest HIV infection prevalence rate of any country in Europe. It also has a synergistic high prevalence of tuberculosis. HIV spreads tuberculosis and tuberculosis kills HIV/AIDS patients. According to the 2011 UNAIDS annual report, Ukraine's HIV infection rate, 1.3% of over-15s, is the worst in Europe. Ukraine and Russia account for 90% of all HIV cases in the region.
UNICEF Ukraine says street children are among the most vulnerable groups.
While the incidence of new infections is going down around the world, Ukraine is still bucking that trend.
According to the WHO, only twenty percent of Ukraine's HIV infected population is receiving adequate retroviral therapy.
That puts Ukraine in the company of countries such as Iran and Pakistan. The therapy rate is much lower than in sub-Saharan Africa.
The HIV prevalence rate in Ukraine is indicative of broadly bad health care and demographic statistics in Ukraine. Ukraine has the worst demographic statistics of any major country in the world save for a few isolated island nations in the Pacific. Ukraine's population is heading to a population of thirty million by 2050. Independence has not been kind to Ukraine.
Despite the crisis, the response by the current and past leadership in Kyiv has been abysmal, analysts and aid workers say. "There's a line in the national AIDS programme budget for prevention," Andriy Klepikov, head of AIDS Alliance Ukraine, was quoted as saying in The Economist. "But its value is set at zero."
UNAIDS is clear on what needs to be done in Ukraine: "Ukraine needs to double its prevention budget and make it available for people, who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and sex workers."
- HUMNEWS staff, USA Programe Friends