Red Ribbons. Not just For Ukraine.

HIV infections are once again rising in the EU and other parts of the West, particularly among younger people, because funding for awareness programmes has been slashed for years and fortunate medical advances in anti-retroviral treatment and a rising life expectancy of those infected are (thus) too often leading to a perception of HIV/AIDS as a chronic illness rather than a fatal disease.

In the US, the problem has been aggravated by the religious right’s efforts to abandon pragmatic policies in favor of a dogmatic prevention policy based predominantly on “abstinence only.”

Yet, in addition to some parts of Asia and large parts of Subsaharan Africa, where the virus is already out of control, Eastern Europe is extremely affected. In fact, as Dr. Peter Piot., head of UNAids, explained yesterday, the situation could hardly be more dramatic – the infection rate in Russia and the surrounding countries “…bears alarming similarities to the situation … faced 20 years ago in Africa” and is “perilously close to [the] tipping point” of spreading quickly through the entire population.

Ukraine, the country watched by the world these days seems particularly vulnerable. Despite well funded prevention efforts deemed “adequate and efficient” by UNAids, according to the agency’s 2004 report Ukraine

“has the highest prevalence of HIV amongst the CIS countries [1,4% of all “adults” aged 15-49]. Since 1995, the virus has spread dramatically, first due to HIV transmission among injecting drug users, but lately also increasingly through sexual transmission. In 2002, 74% of HIV-infected people were injecting drug users, 40% were women and about 64% were under the age of 29.

Thus, In addition to orange ribbons, red ribbons aren’t going out of style any time soon there. For additional info, the BBC has a nice interactive map showing the global spread of HIV based on the 2002 UNAids report.

7 thoughts on “Red Ribbons. Not just For Ukraine.

  1. We inspect playgrounds for used needles before our kids can play. I like protecting my children, and have not wanted to rush childhood. It was hard when I had to give them the “bad needles” talk and we practiced what to do if they saw a needle.

    A friend told me that this summer that there were reminders on the Kyiv television of what to do if a child is stuck with a needle while playing. There is a clinic set up for quick-testing both the needle and the child for HIV / Hep.

    HIV infection is highly stigmatized here. (Think US early 80s.) There is an AIDS hospice in Kyiv, but my impression is that country-wide, there has been a very slow response to this problem.

  2. “HIV infections are once again rising in the EU and other parts of the West, particularly among younger people, because funding for awareness programmes has been slashed for years”

    LOL
    Yeah, we really need to spend more money to get the word out…I’m always overhearing people in the West say “hey, did you hear about that obscure disease called AIDS?” “no, what’s that?”

  3. In the US, the problem has been aggravated by the religious right?s efforts to abandon pragmatic policies in favor of a dogmatic prevention policy based predominantly on ?abstinence only.?

    The HIV infection rate in the US is unchanged from mid 1990’s levels. So I can only attribute that statement to knee jerk Euro ‘Religious Right’ cliches. You wanna back that statement up?

    And what’s dogmatic about abstinence? It works.

  4. No it doesn’t. Uganda is the only quasi-success story, and I blogged about its dubious statistics. Critical paragraph:

    ?Beatrice Were, head of HIV/Aids in Uganda for Action Aid, agreed the [figure of 17.1%] was too high, but she said the official measurement overlooked women unable to reach maternity clinics because of poverty, remoteness or the war in the north. ?I would say the infection rate is between 10 and 12%.?

  5. No it doesn’t. Uganda is the only quasi-success story, and I blogged about its dubious statistics. Critical paragraph:

    I was being literal. You dramatically lower your chances of becoming infected with HIV if you don’t have sex.

    But are you telling me that you have come to the conclusion that abstinence promotion doesn’t work because it wasn’t spectacularly successful in Uganda? I’m not terribly familiar with the Ugandan program but the Guardian article said it was a combo of abstinence, fidelity, and condoms. So I don’t understand your conclusion.

    In regards to your Were quote and this: >”That’s better than one-quarter of the population, but not much”

    17% is not a quarter. And even if it were, 11% is *much* better than 25%. Considering that your gay Randy, isn’t it reasonable to assume that your perspective is skewed?

  6. But are you telling me that you have come to the conclusion that abstinence promotion doesn?t work because it wasn?t spectacularly successful in Uganda?

    Considering how Uganda is the showcase of the abstinence approach to HIV control, and how proponents have quoted inaccurate figures, skepticism seems merited.

    17% is not a quarter. And even if it were, 11% is *much* better than 25%.

    Much better /= good.

    Considering that your gay Randy, isn?t it reasonable to assume that your perspective is skewed?

    Sorry? Please elaborate.

  7. “LOL
    Yeah, we really need to spend more money to get the word out…I’m always overhearing people in the West say “hey, did you hear about that obscure disease called AIDS?” “no, what’s that?””

    http://www.zeit.de/2004/49/aids_Deutschland

    The intro begins roughly: Homosexuals forego safer sex. Young people think AIDS is a disease for grown-ups — 20 years after its outbreak, the plague has lost its menace in Germany. A deadly error.

    … so it’s not like the need for education stops.

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