AIDS-Related Mortality Goes Down in Ukraine

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There has been a 12% reduction in the death rate from AIDS-related diseases in Ukraine. At the same time there are 1,2 million people who need Hepatics C treatment.

According to the State Service of Ukraine on AIDS and other socially dangerous diseases, there were registered 1,802 deaths from AIDS-related diseases in the first six months of this year. While in the same period of the last year the figure was much higher, and made 2,039 people.

For the current period, AIDS incidence rate remained at the level of the first half of 2012 and was 11.3 people per 100 thousand population. By the beginning of July 2013 total of 5,162 patients with HIV were diagnosed with AIDS.

Such a positive dynamics of reducing of AIDS incidence cases and deaths shows a tendency to stabilization of epidemiological situation and the right priorities of the state policy on combating HIV/AIDS. Preventive measures helped to reduce the growth rate of new HIV infection cases among vulnerable groups (IDUs, CSWs and MSM). The constant tendency to decrease number of new cases observed among young people aged between 15 and 24 years.

Due to coordinated work of the Ministry of Health and NGOs, people have an opportunity to get tested for HIV in the opened all over the country Cabinets of Trust. As for the patient’s access to treatment, the necessary Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs now available in all AIDS centers free of charge.

However, the overall epidemiological picture still remains difficult, since the spread of HIV infection continues. During the six months 2013 there were registered 10,727 cases of diagnosed HIV in Ukraine. And the level of infection reached the mark of 23.5 people per 100 thousand population, which is more than the same rates of the last year (21.9 people per 100 thousand).

To reduce the death rate from AIDS, in July this year WHO changed the guidelines for the treatment of HIV-positive patients. According to the new programme, ARV-treatment now is should be started on an earlier stage, when the adult person level of CD4 cell count decreases to 500 cells per cubic millimeter or less (previously – 350 cells/mm3). Today, ARV chemotherapy is given also to HIV-positive children under the age of 5, to pregnant women and feeding mothers, to partners in discordant couples, to patients with active tuberculosis forms, regardless of the level of CD4. The experts believe that such measures will help to save lives of over 3 million people per year and will prevent 3.5 million HIV-infection cases in 2013-2025.
This forecast is based on the fact that recent studies have shown the connection between an early initiation of antiretroviral therapy and the increasing in duration and quality of life for patients, as well as a reducing risk of infection for their partners.

According to official figures, since the starts of epidemic in 1987 and until July 2013 in Ukraine 234,257 citizens were diagnosed with “HIV-infection”. Among them, 103,180 people got HIV through injecting drug use. 87,382 people got HIV through sexual intercourse, of them 831 – representatives of MSM community. Overall during all this years of the epidemic 30,576 people died from a confirmed diagnosis of “AIDS”.