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Ukraine: The Forlorn Needle (28 Jul 2005)

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"Besides the Chornobyl nuclear accident in 1986 and the country ’ s recent presidential election, many people have scant knowledge about Ukraine. In fact, AIDS is most rampant in Ukraine among countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.In Odessa, a big Black Sea city, a nine-year-old boy was admitted to hospital after a drug overdose by injection in September 2004. The boy died eventually. His peers, with whom he shared syringes, were also infected. City government officials showed no interest in their plight. The director shot the street kids ’ receiving test at a hospital. Those young victims did not know their days were numbered.AIDS is still a new disease in Ukraine, with more than half of the infected being young drug addicts below the age of 30. Since the landlocked country abandoned communist rule in 1991, many of its people have been leading a life devoid of meaning. Opening of the border allowed drugs to enter Ukraine. During the decade-long economic recession after the independence, widespread unemployment made life uneasy. To survive, some joined criminal groups and became drug traffickers. Meanwhile, many parents were too busy at making a living, leaving little time for caring their children. Some young people lacking family support turned drifters eventually. They injected drugs to escape life hardship. HIV spread quickly through those sharing syringes.The director stayed in Ukraine for a month in October 2004. He visited an economist, an anti-narcotic detective, a social scientist, young drug addicts, street kids and AIDS patients. He even met a prominent dissent, who criticised the government for turning a blind eye to the spread of AIDS. He noted that the meagre resources for anti-AIDS efforts were embezzled by corrupted officials. As there had been no reform to improve the medical system, cost was high but efficiency was low. AIDS patients were not given the proper care they needed. A doctor, who pioneered in treating AIDS victims in Ukraine, was without scruple when he quibbled about frightened medics who refused to handle AIDS patients because they were fearful.AIDS in Ukraine, similar to a misty scene shown in the end of the documentary, is something that people cannot grasp."

Program: 
Global Aid for AIDS
Publish Date: 
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Station: 
RTHK
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