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MSF in Ukraine, 2005
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An estimated 360,000 people between ages 15-49 are living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine — about 1.4 percent of the population. However, only about 76,000 of them have been diagnosed with HIV or are aware of their status. Ukraine continues to have one of the fastest growing rates of HIV/ AIDS in Europe. In response, during 2004 and the first half of 2005, MSF has been caring for people living with the virus in the southern part of the country.
In the cities of Odessa and Mikolaev, during 2004, MSF provided medicine to 341 HIV-positive pregnant women to help prevent transmission of the virus during pregnancy or delivery. MSF also gave lifeextending antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to 120 adults and 30 children and provided laboratory diagnostic support. MSF staff cared for more than 300 patients in the hospital, and more than 1,000 patients who needed outpatient treatment for HIV-related infections.
The team also conducted treatment-adherence and psychosocial-support sessions for all of the project's patients and many others living with HIV in the area. In addition, MSF collaborated with the country's health ministry to train almost 1,500 health care staff on topics related to HIV.
MSF supports the use of ARV treatment in Ukraine and advocated for the government to accelerate access to it. The team participated in a national campaign aimed at raising awareness about the disease, empowering those who live with it and reducing the stigma surrounding it.
In late 2004, MSF began preparations to transfer its projects to the ministry of health and other nongovernmental organizations after achieving the program's objectives — demonstrating a model of care for HIV-positive people in Ukraine — and seeing evidence of increased national capacity, funding support and political commitment. MSF plans to withdraw from Ukraine by the end of 2005.
MSF has worked in Ukraine since 1999.