Ukraine's Parliament recently approved a bill that would establish a national program to increase HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts in the country, Ukrainian News reports. The bill -- titled "On Approving a National Program for Ensuring Prevention of HIV Infections, Treatment, Care and Support of HIV Carriers and AIDS Patients during the 2009-2013 Period" -- aims to curb the impact that the disease is having on the country's population by introducing a government policy that would increase both HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Under the national program, preventive measures would include increasing the safety of blood products; providing access to large-scale primary prophylactics, especially among at-risk groups; and increasing efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Improved treatment efforts would include no-cost counseling and HIV tests, access to antiretroviral and support therapy, and psychological support to those living with HIV/AIDS. The program will require about 3.7 billion Ukrainian hryvnia, or about $730 million, according to Ukrainian News.
Ukraine's adult HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated at 1.63%, according to Ukrainian News. The bill states that more than 122,000 HIV cases were registered in Ukraine as of Jan. 1 of this year. The program attributes issues with current HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts, as well as the increase in the number of new cases, to socioeconomic problems -- such as inadequate medical and social-assistance infrastructures and insufficient funding for prevention and treatment efforts -- Ukrainian News reports (Sokolovska, Ukrainian News, 9/30).
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