HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies for Ukraine Discussed at Canadian Forum
HIV/AIDS experts from Ukraine and Canada attended a forum in Winnipeg, Canada, on Thursday to discuss the epidemic in the former Soviet state, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. According to the Free Press, Ukraine has reported more annual HIV/AIDS-related deaths than any other European country. Injection drug use, mother-to-child transmission and unprotected sex are the main routes of transmission in the country, the Free Press reports.
Terry Duguid -- president and CEO of the International Centre for Infectious Diseases, which sponsored the forum -- said that the meeting marks the "first time organizations fighting HIV/AIDS in Ukraine have gathered to talk about how to stem the tide" of the disease. According to the Free Press, Manitoba province was an appropriate site for the forum because it is home to the largest Ukrainian community in Canada.
Ostap Skrypnyk, head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said he is confident that younger and more-educated Ukrainian-Canadians will assist in the challenges Ukraine faces in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS, which include a fragmented health care system that resulted from the fall of the Soviet Union. He said that HIV/AIDS is no longer a "death sentence" in North America and Western Europe, adding, "That's what makes it hopeful for Ukraine. Part of the work is preparing the groundwork for a counteroffensive to HIV/AIDS in Ukraine" (Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press, 4/17).