Ukraine’s High HIV Incidence Cause for Concern in Country’s Future Social, Economic and Health Stability
Ukraine -- where the monthly HIV incidence is one of the highest in the European region -- faces a "crisis" that demands global commitment to intervention in order to protect the country -- and the region's -- social, economic and political development and stability, Christina Galvin and Murray Feshbach of the USAID HIV/AIDS Research Project in Russia and Ukraine write in a St. Petersburg Times opinion piece. In Ukraine, the HIV/AIDS epidemic primarily affects young people, which could lead to a reduction in the country's "most economically productive sector, hampering the country's transition to a market economy," according to the authors. In addition, service demands will "encumber an already overstretched health system," which might reduce prospects for sustainable social and economic development and could lead to "political and social unrest" in Ukraine and the surrounding region, the authors say. In addition, the "convergence" of tuberculosis and HIV "makes tackling the crisis even more urgent," the authors state, adding, "Massive scale-up of prevention, harm reduction and treatment programs is urgently needed in order to stem the burgeoning epidemics." While the "scale of the crisis far exceeds Ukraine's capacity to respond, securing long-term national leadership to tackling HIV/AIDS and TB and increasing investment in general health care is crucial," the authors say, concluding, "The urgency is clear" (Galvin/Feshbach, St. Petersburg Times, 10/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.