U.S. Health Secretary Pledges Support for Ukraine's AIDS Fight
June 13, 2005
"We will stand with you shoulder-to-shoulder as we fight HIV," Mike Leavitt, U.S. health secretary, said Saturday in Kiev as he pledged America's support to help battle the epidemic in Ukraine.
Leavitt is on a four-day trip to the nation, which has one of the fastest-growing rates of HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe. Officials of the former Soviet republic say it has made significant progress in fighting mother-to-baby HIV infections. Even so, 794 children were diagnosed with HIV in the first four months of 2005. Some estimates indicate that 1 percent of Ukraine's population - or as many as 500,000 people - are HIV-infected. HIV infection rates are growing faster in Ukraine than in Africa, according to the UN.
Leavitt's trip is part of the U.S. government's effort to support President Viktor Yushchenko, who won the office last year following pro-democracy protests. While visiting children with HIV and other immune deficiencies in Ukraine's Clinic No. 1, Leavitt was accompanied by Yushchenko's U.S.-born wife, Kateryna.
Mykola Polishchuk, Ukraine's health minister, said he and Leavitt also held talks covering tuberculosis and violence in society.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.