On August 1st, in Montreal, Canada, AFEW International participated in a panel discussion in the framework of the first International HIV Documentary Festival ATLAS DOCS 2022.

Yuliya van Polanen, Executive Director of AFEW International, and Aleksey Lakhov, an activist working for several independent NGOs in Russia, discussed the present work conditions for HIV and AIDS organizations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the challenges for HIV/AIDS community in the region. A special attention was given to the urgent needs of HIV communities and organisations that AFEW International and its partner organisations support in the EECA region, especially in Ukraine.

Nowadays more than 40 health facilities in Ukraine that offered HIV treatment, prevention and care services before the war are closed and there are various levels of service disruption at other sites. Everything that has been done for decades is now being undone. Many Ukrainians are leaving their homeland and moving to other (border) countries – without money, documents and medicines. This causes extreme stress and impacts directly the health situation in many recipient countries.

Yuliya van Polanen, Executive Director of AFEW International:

“What can be done? EECA region needs to become a priority region again for the leading international donors, governmental institutions, and private donors investing in the HIV response. As for Ukraine, right now we should ensure that the life-saving HIV medicines are delivered to all people in need on time. Civil society organisations are doing a heroic effort to deliver vital medical supplies and HIV services to people living with and affected by HIV. They are reaching people in extraordinary challenging locations, despite the huge obstacles. But the civil society organisations on which this delivery and care system depends need further international support to be able to continue their work”.

During the event a series of short videos “Voices from Ukraine” was shown where our partners will share their challenges.

Vera Varyga, Board Member of “Positive Women”, Kyiv

Vladimir Kazus, President of Charity Foundation “Blago”, Kharkiv

Igor Medved, HPLGBT coordinator, Kyiv

Voice of HIV-positive community, Kharkiv

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