UNAIDS_General_Assambley3 June, 2011, Kyiv - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Ukraine, the State Service on Counteraction of HIV/AIDS and Other Socially Dangerous Diseases, the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine held a joint press-conference dedicated to the Ukraine’s participation in the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS (HLM) that will take place on 8–10 June 2011 in New York.

UNAIDS_General_Assambley3 June, 2011, Kyiv - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Ukraine, the State Service on Counteraction of HIV/AIDS and Other Socially Dangerous Diseases, the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine held a joint press-conference dedicated to the Ukraine’s participation in the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS (HLM) that will take place on 8–10 June 2011 in New York.

UNAIDS_General_Assambley3 June, 2011, Kyiv - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Ukraine, the State Service on Counteraction of HIV/AIDS and Other Socially Dangerous Diseases, the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine held a joint press-conference dedicated to the Ukraine’s participation in the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS (HLM) that will take place on 8–10 June 2011 in New York.

The HLM shall gather 32 Heads of States and Governments, as well as representatives of the civil society and international organizations, from all over the world in order to review the progress achieved and chart the future course of the global response to AIDS. Those will be reflected in the new Declaration to be adopted by the States to define the future of the AIDS response. The upcoming HLM provides an unparalleled opportunity to galvanize Member States to commit to a new agenda that overcomes remaining barriers to effective HIV services and builds inclusive, country-owned sustainable responses.

 “The international community expects shared responsibility from world leaders, and is ready to support sustainable country ownership, including middle-income countries like Ukraine”, says Dr. Ani Shakarishvili, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Ukraine. “The new Declaration will lay out a focused, results-oriented road map to our common goal - Zero new HIV infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, and Zero discrimination  However, it is Member States’ responsibility to improve national strategies and their implementation to ensure Universal Access, and refresh national AIDS response to accommodate new challenges and implement innovative solutions”.

 Ukraine shall be represented at the HLM as a united platform consisting of different sectors of the society involved in the national response to AIDS: the state bodies, civil society, community and youth representatives. In preparation for the HLM, the members of the official delegation of Ukraine highlighted the importance of taking HIV-related issues out of isolation and viewing it as one of the priorities in Ukraine’s further development.

 Mr. Oleksandr Fedko, Head of the State Service on Counteraction of HIV/AIDS and Other Socially Dangerous Diseases, shall lead the Ukrainian delegation. According to him, Ukraine has necessary political will and a clear strategy to combat HIV. «The state recognizes the following priority activities in national AIDS response in Ukraine: strengthening of HIV prevention, ensuring access to treatment, protection of human rights of people living with HIV, and forming of tolerant attitude toward them in society. We took concrete steps in this direction by means of adoption of the Law on AIDS, which came into force in June, 2011. For coordination of efforts of all partners, the new central executive body was established – the State Service on Counteraction of HIV/AIDS and Other Socially Dangerous Diseases. The state funding of the necessary activities is increasing every year. Our country is proud that the NGOs, and, most importantly, people who live with HIV, are the key partners of the Government in ensuring national response to AIDS in Ukraine. We are grateful to our donors and their commitment, first of all, to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria», says Mr. Fedko.

 Ukraine continues to experience most severe epidemic in whole of Europe, with the estimated adult prevalence of HIV infection of 1,1%, and estimated 32,000 new HIV infections and 21,000 deaths related to HIV/AIDS in 2010 (according to National Estimates of HIV/AIDS Situation in Ukraine, released in 2009 by Ukrainian AIDS Center, WHO, International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, WHO and UNAIDS in Ukraine). Each day, an estimated 87 people get infected with HIV and 50 die of HIV/AIDS. Stigma and discrimination, associated with the HIV, still happen in Ukrainian society: according to the recently issued Stigma Index Report (2010), 51% of surveyed people living with HIV experienced stigmatization and discrimination because of their HIV positive status.

 The continuing growth of the HIV epidemic and low level of access to live-saving services such treatment and prevention of HIV-infection in Ukraine raise deep concerns among the delegates representing the civil society and communities of people living with HIV.

Mr. Volodymyr Zhovtyak, Head of the Coordination Board of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV, notes that Ukraine belongs to the list of 5 countries that still cannot stop the HIV epidemics. “In Ukraine, it is the last chance to stop the epidemics. All that State needs to do is to cooperate with the civil society organizations in an effective manner, and not to disrupt their activities, and ensure sufficient funding of the National AIDS Programme, so that every patient could receive treatment, says Mr. Zhovtyak.

 According to Mr. Andriy Klepikov, Director of International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, many HIV-services organizations experience pressure from law enforcement and other authorities. “During the last months, the activities of many local HIV-service providing organizations in many regions aimed at most vulnerable groups of our population were paralyzed. It is in contrary to the President of Ukraine’s commitment and the recently endorsed State Law on AIDS, which provides state guarantees to important HIV prevention services like needle exchange and substitution treatment for people using drugs.

 The delegation of Ukraine is committed to contributing its expertise and input into discussions at the HLM and the global Declaration on AIDS, and its implementation in the country. To highlight the beneficial impact of the global commitments and their implementation for Ukraine, the members of the Delegation proposed to organize a special meeting with the Government of Ukraine and other stakeholders following the return from the HLM to discuss the key results of the meeting and their implementation in Ukraine.

More information:

Ms Oksana Tsarenko
Communication and Information Associate
UNAIDS Office in Ukraine
36V Saksaganskogo str., 4th floor,
Kyiv 01033, Ukraine
cell.  + 38 050 385 7277
Tel.:+38 044 499 11 72
Fax.:+38 044 499 11 71
E-mail: TsarenkoO@unaids.org