10:30 GMT +313 December 2017
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    UNICEF Warns That Ukraine Could Face HIV Disaster

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    The Ukrainian crisis drastically cut the availability of anti-retroviral drugs which resulted in the birth of a great number of HIV-positive babies. Many of them have been abandoned by their mothers and many doctors fear treating such patients.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Hundreds of children were born with HIV in Ukraine in 2014 because of a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs, leading to a potential health care "disaster," Sky News reported Friday.

    Many women in the conflict-torn country that should have received anti-retroviral medication did not, and later gave birth to HIV-positive babies, UNICEF representative in Ukraine Giovanna Barberis said, Sky News reported.

    "Because of the crisis in Ukraine the system is breaking down and there is a shortage of antiretroviral drugs," Barberies was quoted as saying by the news outlet. "There is potential for a real disaster."

    However, Ukrainian Health Minister Alexander Kvitashvili told Sky News the country was "well prepared" and had "a grip" on the situation.

    It is reported that many HIV-positive babies have been abandoned by their mothers and many medical staff fear treating such patients.

    According to data from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there were between 180,000 and 250,000 people living with HIV in Ukraine in 2013, compared to some 14,000 in 1990.

    UNICEF said that between 2001 and 2013, more than 10,000 cases of HIV infections in babies born to HIV-positive mothers were averted.

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    Tags:
    anti-retroviral drugs, HIV, Ukrainian crisis, UNICEF, Giovanna Barberis, Alexander Kvitashvili, Ukraine
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