July 15, 2010
"Despite entrenched corruption and police interference, community organisations lead the fight against HIV among drug injectorsand sex workers in Ukraine," the British Medical Journal reports. The feature examines the state's response to the HIV epidemic, including clinics that provide counseling, testing and substitution therapy but "cannot effectively champion HIV prevention in drug injectors and sex workers" because, as Pavlo Smyrnov, a deputy director at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine said, "both these groups are outside the law, so it's difficult for government organizations to work with them. The only official outreach they can provide is through the police, who either lock them up or take money." The article also discusses non-governmental action, including work funded by the Global Fund, which is "largely channeled" through the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and is estimated to reach 52 percent of injecting drug users. The article notes that in 2004 the Global Fund "stopped payments" from going directly to the Ukranian government because of "budgetary irregularities and a lack of transparency" (Hurley, 7/13).