Children and HIV and AIDS
UNICEF gives hope to HIV-positive mothers
ODESSA, Ukraine, 23 December 2004 – Ira and her husband Sasha are amongst the quarter of a million people believed to be HIV-positive in Ukraine.
The couple contracted HIV/AIDS from intravenous drug use. They no longer use drugs but believe they may have passed the virus to their fifth child and possibly their sixth. They live in poverty outside Odessa and struggle to make ends meet.
The rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in Ukraine in the past five years has given the country the fastest-growing rate of the disease in Eastern Europe.
Experts estimates indicate that every hundredth Ukrainian is now HIV positive, and the number of children born to HIV-positive mothers has increased dramatically, with about 300 cases each year in the worst-affected regions.
“I have no dreams for myself, only for my children,” Ira said. “I want my second youngest child to stay alive and for my smallest child to be HIV-negative.”
UNICEF and its partner Life Plus are helping people like Ira. At her local community centre she receives counselling, ani-retroviral medication and also day care for her children, which gives her time to look for work.
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