UNAIDS Executive Director in Ukraine
24 October 2013
The Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé congratulated Ukraine for being the first country in Eastern Europe to reduce new HIV infections between 2001 and 2012. On October 23, the first day of his two-day official visit to Ukraine, Mr Sidibé met separately with the Head of the Health Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament Tatiana Bahteeva and the Minister of Health Raisa Bogatyreva.
In his meeting with Dr Bogatyreva, Mr Sidibé thanked her for her personal role in leading the national AIDS response and in securing the government’s strong commitment to scaling-up HIV treatment and life-saving prevention services, including comprehensive harm reduction and opioid substitution therapy for drug users. They also discussed the importance of the new National AIDS programme for 2014-2018.
The National AIDS programme is expected to be endorsed by the Parliament of Ukraine in the coming months and was also an important theme in Mr Sidibé’s meeting with Dr Bahteeva. The Programme contains a number of ambitious goals, including the significant scaling up of antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV and a major increase in government funding.
Mr Sidibé expressed the hope that the country will sustain and build on the recent progress and ensure the long term sustainability of HIV services in Ukraine by taking full national ownership of the HIV response.
Ukraine is experiencing one of the most severe HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe, the region of the world which continues to have the largest increase in HIV incidence.
Ukraine has a window of opportunity to halt and reverse the AIDS epidemic and reach an AIDS-free generation. I know that with the country’s current engaged political leadership, we will reach these goals.
Ukraine's new National AIDS Programme (2014-2018) will be the opportunity to leverage our national leadership so that Ukraine serves as a model of national mobilization on AIDS for other countries in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
We are not consoled by our progress and we must redouble our efforts so that people will not fear coming forward to be tested for HIV or to access life-saving services for HIV prevention, treatment and support.