Associated Press, Kiev, Ukraine, December 3, 2003
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's president accepted a $60 million World
Bank loan on Wednesday to fight AIDS and tuberculosis in this former
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's approval came after the bank
agreed to provide the funds to prevent and control the two diseases
that have spread rapidly since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine, is the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in Eastern Europe, has
the highest HIV infection rate in the region. An estimated 500,000
people -- 1 percent of the population -- are infected.
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The Health Ministry said this month that more than 60,000 Ukrainians
are officially registered as HIV-positive, but the United Nations
estimates actual infection rates to be 10 times higher.
Intravenous drug use has helped to fuel the spread of AIDS.
Tuberculosis cases in Ukraine have doubled in recent years to almost
700,000, and the death rate from the disease is mounting, Interfax
reported citing health officials.
Ukraine's post-Soviet economic meltdown and the degradation of its
state-run health care system have contributed to the spread of both