Her work includes taking harm reduction materials out on the street,
including clean syringes, spirit wipes and information, on how to
prevent HIV and of the support available. As of July 2010, the Alliance
Ukraine programmes funded by the Global Fund and USAID had reached more
than 300,000 people who inject drugs with HIV prevention services, and
have helped slowed the spread of HIV infection among injecting drug
users in Ukraine.
Some of Viktoria’s clients are the same people she used to inject with.
“I had good connections with these people when I was using. Knowing me as a drug user and seeing how I’ve changed is a good example for them . . . they can see there can be a before and after, and they trust me because of my experiences.”
It’s not just the clients that Viktoria has developed trust with since giving up drugs with the help of substitution therapy over two years ago. She believes her son, now six, was deeply affected by her drug use.
“I believe before he didn’t open up that much to me, but now the relationship is very good. Before I wasn’t capable of spending much time with him, now we spend much more time together.”
Not being there enough for him previously troubles Viktoria but she is determined to make up for it and more. Her role as a mother is her number one priority.
“I am a single mother and he relies on me for all his support,” says Viktoria.
“I can wake up in the morning, spent time with my son, take him to kindergarten and go off to work. That makes me happy. Before I stopped using, I’d wake up feeling sick and didn’t have the strength to even get him to kindergarten.”
“I’m glad I don’t embarrass him anymore. He can be proud of me.”