Business Roundtable Discusses HIV Epidemic in Ukraine; Official Calls For More Funding to Fight Disease
HIV/AIDS increasingly is affecting young, working-age Ukrainians, a trend that could affect economic growth, investments and government attempts at reform in the country, experts at a roundtable discussion in the capital city of Kiev said on Tuesday, the AP/Kyiv Post reports. The symposium, called "Ukraine: Business Against AIDS," brought together business leaders and government officials to discuss the country's AIDS epidemic, which could affect as many as 1.4 million Ukrainians, or 3% of the population, over the next five years. According to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who has promised to tackle the problem next year, almost 500,000 people, or 1% of the population, might be HIV-positive. The government has recorded 76,875 HIV-positive people in the country since 1987, and some experts say about 39 new cases of HIV are registered daily. "Every investor, when investing in a particular country, will think twice when seeing rates like that," Anatoliy Kinakh, Ukrainian national security and defense council secretary, said (AP/Kyiv Post, 11/15). Speaking at a press conference after the roundtable discussion, Kinakh said the country will need twice as much funding as provided in the 2006 draft budget to fight HIV/AIDS. "To perform AIDS prevention measures, [$10.3 million] has been required yearly. The draft budget for next year allocates [$6.2 million]," Kinakh said. He added that HIV/AIDS poses a threat to the country's national security (Interfax Ukrainian News, 11/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.