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US national spokesperson for Hepatitis C Kennedy Lawford to visit Ukraine

Prominent actor and writer Christopher Kennedy Lawford

Kyiv, 12 March 2010 – Prominent actor and writer Christopher Kennedy Lawford will visit Ukraine on 14-17 March 2010. Following the invitation of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kennedy Lawford will meet senior public health officials, patients, and civil society activists to discuss issues related to Hepatitis C (Hep C) in Ukraine and share experience in its healing. On 16 March he will deliver a public lecture “Recognize the impact of your decisions: personal story of Christopher Kennedy Lawford” at the National University “Kyiv Mohyla Academy” and tell his life journey to raise awareness on public health challenges such as Hep C and HIV con-infection and to empower youth for prevention and community activism.
Who: Christopher Kennedy Lawford, nephew of John F. Kennedy, has worked extensively in politics, government and the non-profit sector as well as spent twenty years in the film and television business as an actor and producer. However, before his successes, Lawford battled a drug and alcohol addiction for much of his young life. Sober for over 24 years, he shares his personal story with others hoping to make a difference. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption. Lawford illuminates his extraordinary life and the tragedies he has faced – offering a cohesive message of survival, hope, and inspiration.

When/Where: The public lecture will take place on 16 March 2010 at 15:00 at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (8/5 Voloska Str., NaUKMA building 4, room # 410).

The journalists are invited to register and to confirm attendance by 18.00, 15 March 2010 – please contact UNICEF Communication Officer Veronika Vashchenko: 254.00.35, 067.927.60.38.

Globally, an estimated 170 million persons are chronically infected with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and 3 to 4 million persons are newly infected each year. In Europe the most common route of transmission occurs via injecting drug use. In Ukraine, as many as 1.1 millions may be chronically infected with HCV. Treatment is successful in 45-80% of cases depending on the virus genotype. 

To advocate for access to treatment for Hepatitis C and share the US experience dealing with Hepatitis, Kennedy Lawford will meet with the Minister of Health, V.Knyazevych, Head of the Parliamentary Health Committee T. Bahteeva, Hepatitis C survivors and civil society activists, and representatives of the international donor community. In addition, he will meet young people and media to raise awareness on the issue of Hep C and HIV co-infection and transfer advocacy messages around the aversion of risky behavior among young people. 

Christopher Kennedy Lawford is a distinguished advocate for critical health issues facing our society today. His commitment to the issues of substance abuse and hepatitis C has reinvigorated the debate around these vital concerns. He spends his time writing, acting and speaking around the world on health issues and in May 2009 Harper Collins released his third book Healing Hepatitis C. Currently, he holds positions as a Public Policy Consultant for Caron Treatment Centers.

Lawford was born on March 29, 1955 in Santa Monica, California. He holds a Masters Certification in Clinical Psychology from Harvard Medical School as a Lecturer on Psychiatry.



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