In the shadow of war, a struggle for life

KYIV, UKRAINE — Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, both Ukraine and Russia have struggled to confront a regional HIV epidemic fueled largely by the recreational use of intravenous drugs and shared syringes. Ukraine and Russia have some of the highest infection rates outside the African continent, and 3 out of every 4 new HIV diagnoses in Europe happen in the two countries.

In the Donbas region, in addition to having their cities bombed and besieged, Ukrainians with HIV have seen many of their doctors leave and had their access to life-saving anti-retroviral medication threatened. Moreover, parts of the treatment model that Ukraine and international aid organizations implemented post-independence have been replaced with the Russian model favored by the new men in charge. That model hasn’t changed significantly since Soviet times. — The Desert Sun