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USAID will finance HIV prevention in penitentiary institutions of Ukraine

May 03, 2018

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will finance the project “For the Sake of Life” in Ukraine, whose goal is to prevent the spread of HIV, TB and hepatitis C among people in prisons.

This was announced at the press conference in Ukrinform agency by the Director of the USAID Mission in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova Susan Kosinski Fritz.

The project “For the Sake of Life” is designed for the next 5 years and has a total cost of USD10 million. It is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and provides assistance to Ukraine in combating HIV, TB and hepatitis C among people in prison.

“This project will have impact on the lives of prisoners in more than 80 penitentiary institutions in 12 regions of Ukraine, namely those regions that have a high incidence rate”, Ms. Kositski Fritz said.
She emphasized that the penitentiary system has particularly high incidence rates of HIV/AIDS, TB and hepatitis C. In particular, in the penitentiary system, the TB incidence is 900 cases per 100,000 people, while among the general population of Ukraine it is 70 cases per 100,000 of the population. Hepatitis C, according to statistics, is found in 60.5% of inmates.

“When a person enters the penitentiary system, it is necessary to identify cases of the disease in order to reduce the risk of transmission. It is also necessary to provide assistance to those prisoners and patients who are aware of their status so that they can continue receiving treatment after serving their sentence”, Ms. Kositski Fritz said.

Svetlana Leontieva, director of the project “For the Sake of Life” of the PATH international organization, said that it provides for the introduction of integrated, comprehensive services for the treatment of HIV/ AIDS, TB and hepatitis C.

“We plan to provide a quality package of services for people in conflict with the law through strengthening the screening for these three socially dangerous diseases in pre-trial detention centers and penitentiary facilities, conducting patient-oriented outpatient treatment, increasing the HIV testing coverage among people in custody and in correctional facilities, the continuous use of antiretroviral therapy for people in conflict with the law. … A very important component is the substitution maintenance therapy for those who have opioid dependence”, Ms. Leontieva explained.

According to her, within the framework of the project, electronic data management in the penitentiary system and electronic registries of patients with TB and HIV will be introduced.

The project “For the Sake of Life” will last until September 2022 and will cover 12 oblasts: Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Poltava, Kyiv, Chernigov, Kirovograd oblasts, the city of Kyiv and the government-controlled territory of the Donetsk oblast. It is planned that the project will cover 35 thousand prisoners in 81 penitentiary institutions.

The project is implemented by the PATH international organization together with the All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation “Coalition of HIV Service Organizations”, All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “The Network of Organizations Operating in the Penitentiary System” in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the SE “Public Health Center”, the Penitentiary and Probation Department.

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