A National Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm will take place in Kyiv February 15 – through February 17, 2006. This conference is organized by the United Nations Development Programme, World Health Organization Country Office in Ukraine, International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, Open Society Institute (New York), Renaissance Foundation and other related organizations. National Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm

The conference is aimed to present achievements in the domain of harm reduction with special emphasis on substitution maintenance treatment for injecting drug use, and also to consider strategies for further scaling up of harm reduction activities in Ukraine and protection of human rights.

World-known experts on harm reduction, specifically on Substitution Therapy, have been invited to participate in the conference. They include Ambros Uchtenhagen (Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction, Switzerland), and Rebecca Schleifer (Human Rights Watch). Specialists in the narcology and HIV/AIDS prevention, scientists, representatives of Ukrainian ministries, government institutions and NGOs, clients of substitution therapy programs and members of their families are also expected to participate in the conference.

A press conference devoted to the event will take place February 17, 2006 at 4pm. The guests will have an opportunity to speak with international and Ukrainian experts in harm reduction and substitution treatment.

1. Valeriy Ivasiuk - Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine
2. Rebecca Schleifer - expert of International Human Rights Organization (Human Rights Watch)
3. Joanna Kazana-Wisnioviecka - UNDP Deputy Resident Representative
4. Andriy Klepikov - Executive Director, ICF "International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine"
5. Kostyantyn Lezhentsev - International Harm Reduction programs manager, Open Society Institute
6. Oleg Voinarenko - substitution therapy program client

Over 88, 000 people with HIV are registered in Ukraine. The main route of HIV transmission still remains the injection drug use, and 60 percent of all cases of HIV infection are due to the injection drug use. As is estimated, 380, 000 people in Ukraine are injection drug users; the HIV/AIDS rate among adults accounts for up to 1, 28 percent.

Harm Reduction: Reduction of negative medical, social and economic consequences caused by drug use. Harm Reduction programs include syringe needle exchange and substitution treatment programs.

Substitution Treatment: A form of medical care using a similar or identical substance for treatment of opiate dependency (agonist). Agonist could be substituted for the drug of abuse to provide a more control-able form of addiction. A properly conducted substitution treatment may result in decreasing of illicit drug use; improve a social, psychological and physical status of the patients. It may also prevent or reduce their exposure to infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, reduce the risk of death through overdose among injection drug users, improve the patient and patient’s family life standards, reduce law enforcement and public health costs.

Venue: Ukrainian House, 2 Khreschatyk St., Kyiv.
Registration: February 15, 2006 at 12M.
Opening: February 15, 2006 at 1:30 pm.
Press conference: February 17, 2006 at 4 pm, Press Center, Ukrainian House
Accreditation proof is required.

For further information please contact:

Oksana Skytalinska
Communication Officer
Governance of HIV/AIDS project
United Nations Development Programme
Tel.: +380(44) 537 22 93
Tel./fax: +380(44) 253 82 90