It has been 40 years since AIDS was first reported. HIV unmuted, the International AIDS Society (IAS) podcast, talks to the global HIV change makers who have shaped the response and asks what we must do to end the AIDS epidemic.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the region of the world where HIV acquisitions are increasing the fastest. In Ukraine, an estimated 260,000 people are living with HIV. Many thousands more are vulnerable to acquiring HIV and rely on access to HIV prevention services.

In this episode of HIV unmuted, the IAS podcast, we hear how the Russian invasion of Ukraine could mean a wave of deaths and a resurgence of Ukraine’s AIDS epidemic. And in a region with an already rapidly growing HIV epidemic, this could be a public health disaster.

Our guests are:

  • Valeriia Rachinska from 100% Life, the largest organization of people living with HIV in Ukraine, experienced a Russian invasion when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. After that, she’s not afraid to fight, but she’s afraid to live under Russian occupation. Despite this fear, she stays to help where she is desperately needed.
  • Andriy Klepikov never thought he would be an internally displaced person. Crammed into an office with seven other people and two pets, he tells us how he continues to lead the Alliance for Public Health, delivering critical HIV services.
  • Michel Kazatchkine is an Advisor to the World Health Organization in the region and the former UN Secretary-General Special Envoy on HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He helps us understand why the HIV epidemic in the region continues to grow and why this war is both a catastrophe for public health and an extraordinary mobilization of solidarity.