Some 8,000 Human Immuno deficiency Virus (HIV) positive people in war-torn eastern Ukraine face a critical shortage of medicine and their supply will run out in mid-August, 2015, unless a blockade is lifted, warned Michel Kazatchkine, the UN Secretary General's special envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Kazatchkine called on key nations to intervene as soon as possible.
Kazatchkine said, "I am calling on the United States, Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia to do something. 8,000 patients are caught in the political crossfire between the Ukrainian government and Russian-supported fighters because they need both antiretroviral treatments and opioids, which are now blocked at border check points."
AdvertisementKazatchkine further added, "The looming crisis is centered in the mostly Russian-speaking Lugansk and Donetsk regions. The area once housed 25% of Ukraine's HIV-positive population, but thousands have ready fled."
The 8,000 patients who remain are mainly injection drug users whose addictions are being treated with opioid substitution therapy (OST), and who are also taking antiretroviral drugs to keep their HIV infections under control. He said, "The treatments are already paid for and the aid group Doctors Without Borders has pledged to deliver and oversee treatment. But Ukraine will not allow the drugs to be shipped and argues the opioids require armed convoys."