Kyiv, Ukraine, 16 July 2013 - Half of all people living with HIV globally, as is in Ukraine, are now women and this figure is rising.

The impact of the epidemic on women is exacerbated by a number of factors women can face, including economic dependence on men which may limit their ability to refuse sex or negotiate condom use; their relatively low status, their vulnerability to violence, social delinquency and anatomic features. Such inequalities affect women’s experience of HIV, limiting their ability to cope once infected. In 2001 and 2006, the UN General Assembly Declarations of Commitment on AIDS spelled out the need for member states to address gender inequality as a major driver of the epidemic.

July 3-4 this year in Kiev, with the contribution of UNAIDS was hold a seminar "Mainstreaming of the Gender Component into the Regional (oblast’) AIDS Programmes in Ukraine." The seminar was attended by representatives of the State Service, UNAIDS, «All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV", NGO "Center "Democracy Development", United Nations Development Programmes in Ukraine, as well as secretaries of regional coordination councils on TB and HIV / AIDS.

"Over the past few years, experts have been preparing the materials regarding implementation of the gender component to the national AIDS Programmes. The draft Guidelines, which we are discussing, includes the best of these developments. During the elaboration of the Guidelines the analysis of the legal framework was conducted and the strategy of "Gender component of the policy response to HIV infection was worked out." Therefore, having a solid methodological framework, and considering the fact that the country is preparing for the implementation of National Target Social Programme for Prevention HIV-infection/AIDS for 2014-2018 we need to contribute to the development of regional AIDS Programmes which would include gender perspectives", - said the Head of the Department of Medical and Social assistance of the State Service of Ukraine Lyudmila Storozhuk. Ms. Storozhuk also stated that Guidelines will help to the regions systematically and fully implement gender factors into the regional activities aimed at combating HIV-infection/AIDS epidemic. The document is interdisciplinary and focuses on a wide range of professionals involved in the development of regional AIDS Programmes in Ukraine.

The purpose of the Guidelines is to provide a tool for the development of the effective policies, strategies and programmes with gender component and their subsequent implementation. Consideration of the gender mainstreaming will lead to more effective and focused response to the epidemic, ensuring equal opportunities and access to HIV services.

Welcoming the participants, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Ukraine, Mr. Jacek Tyshko, said: "We welcome the initiatives of the State Service to establish the Guidelines on the implementation of the gender mainstreaming in developing of regional HIV/AIDS Programmes. I`m glad that these Guidelines include not only tools for gender analysis and planning, but also tools for gender budgeting, monitoring and evaluation of regional HIV/AIDS Programmes. This is fully consistent with the priorities of UNAIDS and shows modern and integrated approaches to the regional Programmes development in Ukraine. That is why we are pleased to provide technical and financial assistance in the preparation of this important document and also are ready to support a series of regional workshops on gender mainstreaming in September this year.”

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