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UNICEF helps young women of Zaporizhzhya

© UNICEF Ukraine / 2010 / G.Pirozzi

ZAPORIZHZHYA, Ukraine, 15-16 August 2012 – UNICEF launches a new project aiming to develop an innovate integrated model of HIV prevention, to provide care and support for the most at risk young females in Zaporizhzhya. In addition, it is planned to disseminate learning from this model for application in programs across Ukraine and in other countries of the region.

More than half of most-at-risk adolescents in Ukraine are at high risk of HIV infection due to unsafe behaviours, serious service access barriers and many other vulnerability factors. Risk behaviour starts early and is more common among adolescents than among adults. Young people lack knowledge on HIV/AIDS issues, are less covered by prevention services and use them more rarely than adults. It is especially alarming that around 90 per cent of teenagers who are living and working on the streets in Ukraine are not informed about the risks of HIV/AIDS.

UNICEF project will focus geographically on the Zaporizhzhya oblast which has been ranked in the in the upper half in terms of overall HIV risk among Ukraine’s oblasts. The project will target the youth who are highly vulnerable for initiating sex work and injecting drugs, females aged 14-24 who are at high risk for HIV, including female sexual workers, injected drug users and other vulnerable groups.

“One of the critical access barriers for most-at-risk adolescents is the lack of youth-friendly services. The majority of existing prevention programmes was primarily designed for adults. It is crucial to increase the access of adolescents to targeted and high-quality services and information, helping them to prevent HIV infection and to keep youth generation healthy.” – said Ruediger Luchmann, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Ukraine

The new project will be implemented with three main project phases: 1)Assessment, 2) Program Implementation and 3)Knowledge Translation. An initial assessment phase is intended to address key knowledge gaps that are central to designing effective programs and services, including: the specific social and sexual networks and structures in Zaporizhzhya; mapping the existing networks of programs and services available and key program and service gaps; assessment of existing capacity and capacity building needs of existing program and service providers.

The project implementation will be managed by UNICEF Ukraine through fund-raising efforts of UNICEF-Canada and the International Centre for Infectious Diseases. In Zaporizhzhya implementation of prevention activities and service provision will be arranged through a network of local NGOs and government care providers, including the existing “Youth Friendly Clinic”, the Oblast AIDS Centre, local NGOs.

Meet children UNICEF helps: Anya's story

For further information, please contact:

Yulia Yurova, Partnership Officer
UNICEF Ukraine
Tel: +38-044-254-2450
Email: yyurova@unicef.org

About Youth Friendly Clinics (YFCs)

In Ukraine UNICEF provides assistance to the Ministry of Health to improve the health care system for children up to 18 by introducing Youth-Friendly Clinics (YFCs), fostering capacity building for health care professionals and facilitating introduction of new health care standards for adolescents. The YFCs are specialized sub-units usually at children's polyclinics that provide youth with health services and information and counseling with the main focus on prevention of infection with HIV and sexually transmitted infection diseases (STIs). The national target is that 90 per cent of children’s polyclinics will have Youth-Friendly Clinics responsible for HIV counseling and prevention activities by 2015. To date, there are 104 YFCs in the country and their establishment is in line with this national objective.

About UNICEF

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the world leader in protecting the rights and interests of children. The Fund operates in over 190 countries to protect and support children from an early age through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. The UNICEF office in Ukraine was opened in 1997.

More info at www.unicef.org.ua

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