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Librarian-PCV pair attend HIV/AIDS Training

25/02/2011

Last week, Maryna Stilnykova, one of the librarians at the Kirovograd Oblast Research Library, PCV Karin Jones, and 38 other Ukrainian-PCV pairs went to PEPFAR training in Sosnovyi Bir, in the Kyivska oblast. Though most of the training sessions were conducted separately, both participants left the training having increased their knowledge about HIV/AIDS, as well as having increased their cross-cultural awareness of how the other group views the issues surrounding this global epidemic.

Why is such a training important? According to USAID, Ukraine has one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in Europe.  At the end of 2007, an estimated 440,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, which represents 1.6 percent of the population.

The Ukraine National Council on TB and HIV/AIDS estimated that adult infection of HIV/AIDS decreased to 1.28 percent by 2009. However, this decrease was said to be related to population growth, and the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS continues to increase. Annual HIV diagnoses in Ukraine have more than doubled since 2000.

From 1995 to 2007, the primary means of HIV transmission was through injection drug use, but by 2008, sexual contact outpaced injection drug use as the primary form of transmission. By 2009, almost 44 percent of new infections occurred through sexual transmission, and 36 percent were through injecting drug use.

When it comes to knowledge of how to prevent HIV from spreading, according to the 2007 Ukraine Demographic Health Survey, less than 50 percent of men and women have a comprehensive understanding of how to decrease the risk of HIV infection.

Because of all of these factors, Peace Corps works with Ukrainian organizations to train volunteers and Ukrainians on HIV and AIDS, and provides them with the tools to conduct education and prevention programs in their communities.

Some of the topics that were covered in the training included:

  • Biology of HIV
  • How HIV is transmitted
  • Prevention of HIV
  • Statistics of HIV in Ukraine
  • Cross-cultural behaviors and attitudes toward people with HIV
  • HIV-specific language (for the PCV)
  • Behavior change communication
  • Stigma and discrimination
  • Ukrainian HIV/AIDS organizations

Participants also watched films about the HIV/AIDS global epidemic, participated in group activities, made presentations, and had joint sessions. Though the days were long, participants left feeling positive about their new knowledge and motivated to conduct HIV/AIDS-related projects in their communities. Here is what Maryna Stilnykova had to say about the training:

Моє враженя про тренінг з профілактики ВІЛ/СНІДу.

За ці дні на тренінгах, дізнаєшся богато нового: по-перше, що однією з найгостріших проблем сучасності, що переросла своє суто медичне та

суто національне значення і набула ознак глобальності, є проблема поширення

ВІЛ/СНІДу. Що за два десятки років “хвороба ХХІ сторіччя” еволюціонувала як в

географічному, соціо-економічному, так і в гуманітарно-політичному плані.

Вона набула інтернаціонального і загальнолюдського характеру, загрожуючи

перетворитися на головну загрозу антропогенній безпеці ХХІ ст. як для

стабільних суспільств, так і для країн, що розвиваються.

На жаль, усвідомлення цієї проблеми ще не має загальноукраїнського

політичного характеру та не привертає належної уваги громадськості. Адже

проблема ВІЛ/СНІДу стає за своєю актуальністю не менш значущою, ніж

проблеми екологічної та техногенної безпеки.

Сьогодні прийнято вважати головною загрозою людству -тероризм, але що можебути небезпечнішим за перманентний тероризм недбалості та неуважності до проблем тих, хто поруч?

Ці тренінги значно поширили мій світогляд і поглибили знання цієї проблеми і відношення до неї. Я вважаю ці тренінги корисними і важливими для себе.

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