Fight against HIV in Ukraine – Health

Ukraine’s Olena Stryzhak is committed to helping HIV-positive women in her country, against many odds. This is not the case everywhere: the global fight against AIDS is stalling more and more.


Berit Uhlmann

Does she sometimes think about leaving this tormented country? Olena Stryzhak shakes her head, her voice trailing off for a moment before she replies: “I need my country.” And then she talks about the toll this perseverance takes. The biggest problem right now is the power outage. No electricity, which usually means limited communication, no heating, no possibility to cook. When the temperature is below zero, women have to run out into the street and boil milk for their babies over an open fire. Olena Stryzhak could never have imagined such problems when she began working for HIV-positive women in Ukraine 20 years ago – which also includes ensuring that infected mothers give their children bottle-feeding to reduce the risk prevent virus transmission during breastfeeding.

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