Charity event in Ukraine boosts youth awareness of HIV prevention

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Charity event in Ukraine boosts youth awareness of HIV prevention

12 October 2010

Participants in "Race for Life" charity event receive award. Credit: UNAIDS

“A healthy future starts with you” was the slogan of Race for Life, a charity event held on 9 October in Kiev, Ukraine. Over 3000 people gathered in Kiev’s city center to support people living with HIV, raise money for children born with HIV, and express their readiness to join hands to halt the epidemic.   

Ukraine is one of the countries most heavily affected by HIV in the region. According to UNAIDS estimates, around 440 000 people are living with HIV in Ukraine, representing over 1% of the adult population. Every day, some 50 new cases of HIV are registered in the country.

In recent years, various sectors of Ukrainian society have united their efforts to respond to the country’s rapidly-growing HIV epidemic. The Ministry of Education, Kiev city administrations, media organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and community organizations were among the organizers of this year’s race.

Race for Life is a tool for social mobilization in the overall response to the epidemic, especially in public awareness,” said Svetlana Cherenko, Chairman of the Committee on Combating HIV in Ukraine’s Ministry of Health. HIV prevention among youth is one of the country's main priorities.

Initiated by the UN Office in Ukraine in 2001, Race for Life was held annually until 2005. The event was organized again this year to convey healthy lifestyle and HIV prevention messages to youth.

“We must continue talking to young people about HIV transmission, about prevention, about personal responsibility. Everything is in their hands today—their health, their life and their future,” said Denis Broun, UNAIDS Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, who also ran 3 kilometers in the race.