Progress fighting the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine under pressure
According to the results of the All-Ukrainian network of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH), Ukraine for the first time has achieved considerable progress in counteracting HIV/AIDS epidemic. New AIDS cases decreased in 2013 by 7%, from 10,073 in 2012 to 9,362 in 2013. Even more striking are the changes in the field of AIDS-related mortality - a decline by 10% (from 3870 in 2012 to 3514 in 2013).
An increase in the state financing of drugs procurement, which was demanded by the All-Ukrainian network of PLWH, allowed the Ministry of Health to increase by 40% the number of patients receiving treatment to reach the figure of 55.784 patients. The expansion of the PLWH treatment program led to the decrease in new AIDS cases and AIDS-related mortality rates. This was announced at a briefing in the Ukrainian media crisis center by representatives of the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH and the State Service of Ukraine on AIDS and other socially dangerous diseases.
"What we’ve been talking about at all levels becomes reality – the treatment programs are stopping the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This is the key to overcoming the epidemic in Ukraine since further expansion of treatment programs as well as care and support programs for HIV-positive people will have an impact on HIV/AIDS epidemic as prevention. Hundred-percent access to treatment for all who need it - the key to success in this fight." – said Volodymyr Zhovtyak – Head of Coordination Council of All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH.
However, because of instability and bad economic conditions the Ukraine could lose this important achievement. Inflation of the currency in the last six months was for example more than 40%. Under these conditions there is a high risk that this year the government of Ukraine will be able to provide antiretroviral therapy for only thirty three thousand patients. This is about half of what was originally planned. The All Ukrainian Network is lobbying the government and pharmaceutical companies in order not to lose the progress which was made.
Senior officer of Public Relationships Unit of All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH