On December 4 the meeting on effective counteraction to HIV/AIDS in Ukraine headed by President Victor Yushchenko took place at President’s Secretariat, according to the President`s press-office.

V.Yushchenko heavily criticized government’s work in that field. He presented latest statistics according to which there are currently over 119 thousands of HIV-positive and over 21 thousands of AIDS ill people in Ukraine.

President expressed even more worries about the tendencies. According to prognoses if the approach stays intact there will be 150 thousands of HIV/AIDS ill Ukrainians in three years and about 820 total by 2014.

V.Yushchenko said that these statistics are the results of government’s inertness. According to him there are issues requiring urgent attention.

First of all governmental purchases of antiretroviral medications lack transparency.

That leads to irregularity of medications supply as well as to questionability of their quality. Therefore President urged the Office of the Prosecutor General to conduct a “total inspection of all tender purchases operations made by the Ministry of Health”.

V.Yushchenko also pointed out issues with financing counteraction measures against HIV/AIDS. Despite 6 time growth of budget provided financing in 2007 compared to 2004 only 50% of present 98 million hryvnyas have been used to fight HIV/AIDS during past 10 months.

In addition President emphasized that 112 millions of hryvnyas provided in draft budget for 2008 are insufficient even for treatment of those who are already ill not to mention preventive measures or purchase of necessary medical equipment. Therefore he demanded that all corresponding expenses are taken into account by draft budget for 2008 saying that he would not sign a budget law which disregards expected expenses numbers prepared by the Ministry of Health.

Ukraine is experiencing one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the world.

According to UNAIDS/WHO, the actual number of people infected is considerably higher than official statistics suggest. While the Ukrainian Centre for AIDS Prevention has registered 104,645 cases of HIV-infection among adults and children (as of January 1, 2007), international experts estimated the actual number of people living with HIV to be around 377,000 in 2005, and the epidemic is still growing. In 2006, 16,078 new cases of HIV-infection were officially registered up from 13,770 in 2005.

Southern and eastern regions of Ukraine are the most affected - including the oblasts (administrative divisions) of Dnipropetrovs’k, Donets’k, Odesa, Mykolaiv and the Crimean Republic. While a third of the population lives in these regions, they represent two-thirds of all officially registered HIV cases. Western regions of Ukraine remain the least affected.