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MSF in Ukraine, 2004
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In the past year, MSF has expanded the scope of its HIV/ AIDS project in the southern Ukrainian cities of Odessa, Mikolaev and Simferopol, where the disease is particularly prevalent.
MSF's objective is to help improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS and increase access to treatment. The project, which was originally aimed at preventing motherto- child transmission of HIV, has been broadened to include medical care for opportunistic infections, treatment with life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, laboratory support and psychological care for both children and adults. In addition, MSF collaborates with the ministry of health to train health care professionals. Currently, some 1,000 motherand- child pairs participate in the motherto- child transmission-prevention program and 106 adults and 29 children are now treated with ARVs.
Counseling for infected mothers and their partners, as well as psychosocial training for medical staff, are particularly important elements of the project given the high levels of stigmatization and discrimination suffered by the HIV-positive community in Ukraine. MSF has developed a psychosocial component in which HIV-positive women are trained as peer counselors for newly infected mothers taking part in the program. The peer-counseling program offers psychological support and empowers these women in coping with HIV/AIDS.
MSF has worked in Ukraine since 1999.