HIV Infections Keep Rising in Former Soviet Union And Ukraine
Author: Veronica Radicati
Tuesday 4th of December 2012 07:28:39 PM

 

All around the world the conditions for people living with HIV are getting better and the spreading of the virus is reduced– accept for Eastern Europe and the Middle East where the AIDS crisis is getting worse. In the former Soviet Union the amount of people getting infected is increasing each year, in fact from 2001 to 2011 the yearly infection rate rose from 130 000 to 140 000 persons, which means 10 000 more infections occur per year and only one fourth of the HIV positive persons have access to medication. The worst affected areas are Russia and Ukraine that account for 90 % of the new infections, but through labour migrants the virus is spreading to other neighbouring countries rapidly as well.

 

So what is the problem? Why don’t those countries improve like everybody else? According to Jean-Elie Malkin, UNAIDS director for the area, many of the new infections occur because of the fact that there are no needle exchange programs in the region – a reflection of the discrimination of what UNAIDS calls the “Hidden Population”, meaning drug users. And it’s not stopping there, Malkin says: “There's not only an increasing epidemic among the vulnerable population of injecting drug users, but from these IDUs, the epidemic is now moving on to the general population through their sexual partners.”

 

A far more important reason is poverty and the governments’ tendency to act passively. Instead it’s the non governmental organisations that have taken the responsibility to inform about and fight against HIV/AIDS and over 60 % of the funding comes from external donors. A HIV-positive Ukrainian woman commented on the inaction from the governments and said: "If our government pays attention to what we're saying – that the spread of HIV infections is dropping thanks to the fact that people are receiving treatment – if they listen to us, provide some financing, take some kind of action, then there's the possibility that this epidemic will start to slow down."

 

That is very true – so to all you governments out there: start to take more responsibility for your people and do more about the problem!


-Tova

 

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