Elena Franchuk, founder of the ANTIAIDS Foundation opened the meeting with a short presentation about the history of HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. She mentioned the fact that last trends in HIV transmission routes had caused great disturbance of all HIV/AIDS experts.
Alla Scherbinskaya, director of the Ukrainian AIDS center, informed about situation with treatment as well as about the activity of recently established the National Coordinating Council on HIV/AIDS. She gave her comments on the role of the Ukrainian governmental and non-governmental institutions in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
All experts acknowledged that despite of scaling up ARV therapy, covering treatment costs opportunist infections are the responsibility of patients and their families. Alexander Yurchenko, director of the Kiev AIDS Center explained that the government covering costs only for the most expensive medicaments.
Harm reduction programs was of the special interest of the journalists. Nataliya Podlesnaya, executive director of the Substance Abuse and AIDS Prevention Foundation informed the audience that despite important financial support of donors and experienced public organizations only 20% of people from so called “risk groups” are involved in the above-mentioned programs. According to the international experience, the programs could be efficient only in case if they cover at least 60% of the risk group population.
Vladimir Zhovtyak, head of the Coordinating Council of All –Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV shared information about Network principles and main directions of its activity. He also stressed that people with HIV/AIDS are still suffering from dreadful discrimination, often from the part on the medical staff.
Preventive educational programs to be adopted at schools became another topic of the vivid discussion. Different conceptions on which the activity of various Ukrainian non-governmental organizations is based provoked the debates about the alternative “to use condoms or abstain”.
Many questions were not included into the discussion within the framework of the meeting. But the answers to them should be found both in Ukraine and Germany. This meeting gave the possibility for the German journalists to know more about the situation with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine. The meeting demonstrated that situation with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, the country separated from Berlin only by 1300 km, is of the special interest for our German colleagues.
Robert Bosch Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in Germany. The Foundation realizes its own programs as well as supports module projects aimed to establish understanding between countries in sphere of health protection and education. In 2004 the Foundation granted 49 millions euro for different projects. Development German relations with the East –and –Central Europe states is among the regional priority of the Foundation activity. Robert Bosch Foundation has been collaborating with Ukraine since 1990.
For detailed information, please, contact Pavel Piminov, Communications Director, Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation on E-mail: P.Piminov@antiaids.org. Contact phone number: +38 (044) 490 4805.