Kyiv, 18 September 2006 – Approximately 5,000 people participated in the fifth annual Race for Life in downtown Kyiv today, braving chilly weather to raise more than 140,000 UAH to assist those who live with HIV and AIDS. b_90_67_16777215_00_images_content_news_581.jpg Kyiv, 18 September 2006 – Approximately 5,000 people participated in the fifth annual Race for Life in downtown Kyiv today, braving chilly weather to raise more than 140,000 UAH to assist those who live with HIV and AIDS. b_180_0_16777215_00_images_content_news_581.jpg

Kyiv, 18 September 2006 – Approximately 5,000 people participated in the fifth annual Race for Life in downtown Kyiv today, braving chilly weather to raise more than 140,000 UAH to assist those who live with HIV and AIDS.

In addition to the race itself, the event featured an information fair with the participation of 27 organizations and free HIV express testing. Over 7,000 people were present at the fair.

The goal of the annual Race for Life is to attract the public’s attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. As of 1 August 2005 there were 82,540 officially-registered cases of HIV infection – 36 people are infected with HIV in Ukraine every day. Supporting those living with HIV/AIDS, stopping the transmission of the disease, and healthy life styles are the main means to prevent the spread of the infection.

Proceeds from the Race for Life will go to AIDS Centres throughout Ukraine, through the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Francis O’Donnell, Okean Elzy front-man and United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador in Ukraine Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, and Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko (who started the race) addressed the crowd of participants before the race began.

The race was organized by the United Nations Office in Ukraine, the National Coordination Council on HIV/AIDS, the Ministries of Health and of Youth and Sport, the Kyiv City Administration and the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS.

The event would not have been possible without wide support from the public and the business community. Companies such as Life:), Microsoft, BonAqua, Perfekt, Cargil, Avon, the Premier Palace Hotel, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Media Partner, Milk, and Diplomat Service all made valuable contributions to the race, and over 200 volunteers guaranteed that the race was conducted successfully. Forty volunteer judges from the Kyiv Department of Physical Culture and Sport, led by Chief Judge Nikitenko, ensured fair, unbiased selection of the victors.

In the weeks leading up to the race, event organizers and volunteers conducted a series of training sessions in healthy lifestyles for pupils and students. Approximately 2,250 people attended these training sessions. In addition, a competition in Kyiv schools on healthy lifestyles was held. Fifty schoolchildren entered the competition, and five special prizes were handed out.

The top three male and female athletes received valuable prises. Mykola Trubachev was the fastest male runner, completing the race in seven minutes and 47 seconds; Inna Lebedeva led the female runners. Olympic champion Lilia Podkopaeva presented the prizes to the victors.