11 August, 2005 02:35

The Outlook of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Ukraine

On August 24, 2005, the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and Getty Images, with the participation of the ANTIAIDS Foundation, completed the photo project "The Outlook of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Ukraine". After South Africa and China, Ukraine became the third country chosen to attract international attention and the private sector to the problem of the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the world. In less than two weeks, Getty Images photo correspondent Brent Stirton visited Kiev, Poltava, Donetsk, Makeyevka, Kherson and Odessa. With the assistance of the project coordinator – ANTIAIDS Foundation, as well as twenty other HIV-service organizations from all over Ukraine, unique shots describing the lives of people affected by the epidemic were shot.
The Outlook of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Ukraine / Elena Pinchuk Foundation

The project initiators initially sought to reflect the origins of the epidemic in Ukraine, the consequences of the catastrophic growth of new cases of HIV/AIDS, the impact of parallel epidemics of tuberculosis, drug addiction and sexually transmitted diseases. A separate part of the project is the stories about people, families and communities whose lives were changed by the HIV/AIDS diagnosis.

Thanks to the staff from the harm reduction projects and Foundation partners throughout Ukraine, Brent Stirton met with people who use drugs and are forced to start every day with trying to find money for the next dose. Many project participants are young girls who have children. Some of them are still cared for by their parents, hoping that someday their lives will change for the better.

Brent Stirton was able to visit high security prison Darievskaya in Kherson, where prisoners with HIV/AIDS are serving their sentences. He spent the day with the social workers of the Odessa "Path to Home" Foundation. He participated in the outreach program for women sex workers along with the volunteers of the NGO "Eney”. Almost in all the cities he met with people who participate in non-medical care projects, implemented with the funds from the Global Fund.

In most cases, these are people who are not able to move around without help and need constant care. Many meetings were very emotional, each photo was accompanied by a life story. Natalia is 29 years old. Two days before the meeting she lost her husband and was left alone with three children. Her youngest child is a month and a half old. We photographed her the day before the funeral...

The project also includes successes stories. These are stories of people whose lives have been saved by ARV therapy, that has become widely available thanks to a grant from the Global Fund. These are the stories of young couples who managed to get rid of drug addiction. These are the stories of people who were united by the HIV diagnosis, who found the strength not only to start a new life, but also to lead others. Volodya, one of the characters of the project, hasn’t been using drugs for 20 years already. When asked why he started working with drug users, his answer was simple: "My daughter is 18. I recently learned that she is using drugs...".

The official presentation of this project is planned in the near future and will be carried out jointly with the Global Business Coalitions on HIV/AIDS, Getty Images and partners who helped implement this project.

Getty Images is the world's leading provider of images and video for advertising, design and media. Getty Images was founded by Mark Getty, the grandson of the famous oil tycoon Paul Getty. As of September 2004, Getty Images has a cumulative archive of 70 million photographs and 30,000 hours of video. The annual turnover of the company is more than 600 million US dollars.

Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC) – The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS is one of the largest organizations that attracts resources of private and business sector to fight HIV/AIDS. More than 170 major international companies have joined GBC already, and have demonstrated their readiness to join forces to counteract the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As of January 2005, GBC includes two Ukrainian companies – the RCC and the Interpipe Corporation.

For detailed information, please, contact Pavel Piminov, Communications Director, Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation: +380 44 490 4805, P.Piminov@antiaids.org.

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