The anniversary coincided with the news that UNAIDS have recently reported that “HIV transmission among people who inject drugs in Ukraine appears to be significantly decreasing”.
10 years of Alliance Ukraine activities have been marked by leadership in a number of crucial areas, including:
- Launching and scaling up antiretroviral treatment.
- Starting and rolling out substitution maintenance treatment for injecting drug users.
- Long-term funding support for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programmes.
- Extending prevention programs from small pilots to large-scale comprehensive services. In just the last year these services were provided to more than 240,000 people.
However, Alliance Ukraine warns that “Ukraine risks losing the results achieved during all those years due to biased governmental policy and artificial obstacles”. In order to avoid the threat of a new explosion of HIV infection it is essential to:
- Increase AIDS funding in the state budget for 2011, in particular for prevention work for those at risk of sexual transmission of HIV.
- Stop systematic obstructions to substitution treatment programmes for people who use drugs. Interference of law enforcement bodies into the treatment programmes has created an atmosphere of fear both for patients and medical staff, and has resulted in the failure to meet the National AIDS Programme’s targets.
- Eliminate unreasonable criminalization by the government of drug dependent people and end discrimination in getting access to antiretroviral treatment.
We hope that World AIDS Day and the anniversary of Alliance Ukraine will draw attention to these problems and motivate the authorities to take steps towards solving them.