On the eve of St. Valentine’s Day, Alliance for Public Health (Alliance) would like to remind you about the importance of “individual protection means” – condoms, which present a universal and effective way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI).
Condoms are an integral part of prevention services, which with support of Alliance are provided by non-governmental organizations to members of most vulnerable populations, including sex workers.
In 2015, 13.7 million male condoms and almost 41 thousand female condoms were distributed free of charge within Alliance programs. Over 285 thousand people were reached with HIV and STI prevention services, including almost 37 thousands of commercial sex workers. Over 203 thousand people got tested with rapid tests for HIV, and 67.6 thousand – for other sexually transmitted infections. As a result of screening among the members of vulnerable populations, 4.2% tested positive for Chlamydia, 2.6% – for hepB, and 2% – for gonorrhea and syphilis. Almost 2% of those tested for HIV received positive results.
According to the official statistics, 126.6 thousand people living with HIV were registered in Ukraine as of January 2016. If in the beginning of the century the main route of HIV transmission in Ukraine was through blood (up to 70%) and HIV was mostly spread among the members of vulnerable populations, since 2008 there has been a steady tendency towards the increase in the sexual route of transmission. According to the Ukrainian Center for Socially Dangerous Disease Control of the MoH of Ukraine, in 2015 only 22% of cases of HIV infection were related to drug use, with 60% being related to sexual contacts (with no account of data from the occupied Crimea and the Donbas areas temporarily not controlled by Ukraine).
It is an evidence of the significant change in HIV transmission trends and stable prevalence of the sexual route of transmission, which increases the thread of the infection going out of the concentrated circle of vulnerable groups to their sexual partners and more general population.
HIV is no longer the problem of vulnerable populations only. Today anyone who has unprotected sex is in the risk group!
Current situation in our country brings new risks. In the context of armed conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, humanitarian crisis and mass internal migration, the danger of the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections becomes almost 50 higher. The most critical situation is observed in Donbas, which is becoming kind of a “black hole” in terms of uncontrolled spread of dangerous epidemics! Considering significant intensification of sex work in the areas of military operations on both sides of the conflict line, the issue of unprotected sex in the military settings deserves special attention. According to the results of a recent study by TNS conducted in cooperation with Alliance, 61% out of over 3.5 thousand respondents from among the military did not use condoms during the most recent sexual intercourse, while 18% had sex with casual partners. Currently, negotiations are underway between Alliance and the Ministry of Defense on transfer of several hundred thousand condoms in the places of troop disposition, rotation and training centers.
If you are in love, protect yourself and your loved ones, enjoy safely, remember about risks and try to avoid them!
Contact person – Natalija Kravchenko, (044) 490 54 85 (ext. 235), firstname.lastname@example.org
International Condom Day