The social and economic upheaval following the collapse of the Soviet Union has had a serious adverse effect on Ukrainian families and social structures, exacerbated by widespread substance use and family violence.
Thousands of Ukrainian children have been abandoned, left homeless, or institutionalized under abusive conditions. Over 145,000 adolescents are housed in state institutions, while an estimated 50,000 children live on the streets of major cities and over 1,000 children are incarcerated.
HealthRight engages street-involved, incarcerated, and institutionalized children and youth in comprehensive case management and health education, and helps them access critical health care and social support, including HIV testing and treatment.
Ukraine faces one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the world, and the epidemic is concentrated within most at-risk populations, including people who use drugs, prisoners, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and homeless adolescents. In 2008, HealthRight, together with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented an 18.5% HIV prevalence among adolescents living or working on the street. Women are also especially vulnerable to HIV due in part to unequal power structures in sexual relationships, and pregnant women who are HIV infected face stigma within healthcare settings and violence in their relationships.
HealthRight supports pregnant and parenting HIV-positive women, including those who use drugs, to help them access the care that they need and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. For those women and girls who have experienced violence in their relationships, HealthRight and its partner, the Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health (UFPH), offer case management-based counseling, legal services, and an empowerment education intervention, together with counseling and behavior change education for men and boys who have perpetrated violence.
– Over 2,500 street-involved children and youth engaged in care and HIV-prevention education.
– Over 1,200 child prisoners engaged in HIV-prevention and general health education.
– Over 500 women and girls who are survivors of violence engaged in comprehensive case management to help them overcome their trauma and improve their lives.
– Over 300 providers and responders, including medical workers, teachers, counselors and police, trained to deliver care that is free from stigma and addresses the special needs of marginalized populations.
In Ukraine, HealthRight¹s major collaborating partner is the Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health, which was founded by Healthright in 2008. In addition, HealthRight works closely with the government of Ukraine, in particular the Ministry of Social Policy, the national AIDS Center, and the Penitentiary Service, as well as NGOs such as the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV.