Activists struggle to stem HIV spread in the Donbas

2017/7/24 10:38:42

Natalia Gurova manages a project in the insurgent-controlled Ukrainian city of Lugansk handing out clean syringes and condoms to drug-users and sex workers who are most at risk from HIV and hepatitis

 


Pulse News Agency International by AFP

 

As clashes drag on in east Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed rebels, health activist Natalia Gurova is fighting another battle of her own.

 

Gurova manages a project in her insurgent-controlled home city of Lugansk handing out clean syringes and condoms to drug-users and sex workers who are most at risk from HIV and hepatitis.

 

That puts her at the forefront of the perilous struggle against the spread of infections as more than three years of conflict and rebel rule have hit vital treatment programmes.

 

"Everything has worsened," Gurova, from the All-Ukrainian Public Health Association, a charitable organisation, told AFP.

 

Getting supplies such as condoms, lubricants and hygienic wipes into rebel-held territory remains a constant challenge as they run the gauntlet of checkpoints to cross the tightly guarded frontline.

 

While Gurova still manages to keep these programmes going, substitute treatments for drug addicts including methadone have stopped entirely.

 

This has seen users who were being weaned away from injecting themselves turn to dangerous local alternatives -- and bolstered the threat of the spread of diseases.

 

"There are more cases of HIV infections among users and it is very difficult to make contact with them," Gurova said.

 

Alongside this problem, activists say there has been a rise in the number of sex workers in the grey zone along the frontline.

 

[…]

http://www.pulse.ng/world/in-ukraine- ... hiv-spread-id7031994.html

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article
 
Poster Thread