Supporting adolescents at risk of HIV in Ukraine

Tetiana is 18 years old. She has a little baby. Her husband was actively using drugs and after three years she left him. Oleksandr is 17 years old. He is a talented boxer, and started experimenting with drugs for the first time when he was 11 years old. Svitlana is 22 years old. She has six brothers and sisters who all grew up in different orphanages. Now she has two children of her own. Her husband tried to kill her with a hatchet and so she escaped from her home.

I tried drugs for the first time when I was 14.
Well, the very first time I was 11.

(Oleksandr, 17)

The importance of age-specific services

Services for adolescents should be specifically adjusted for their age as the scope of services for this group differs from services for adults. In Ukraine, Bridging the Gaps works to improve the access of young people using drugs to comprehensive medical, social, psychological and legal services, and ensure the protection of their human rights.

COMPASS Center – a safe haven for most at risk adolescents

Bridging the Gaps partner ICF AFEW International (AFEW-Ukraine) opened Drop-in center “Compass” at the beginning of 2014 in cooperation with NGO “Blago”. The future of the centre is at risk due to proposed funding cuts. This should not happen. This video demonstrates how crucial age-specific services offered by COMPASS really are for the lives of Tetiana, Svitlana and Oleksandr. But also for public health in general.

“Right now our country is really in a difficult situation, but this should not be an excuse to forget its most vulnerable children.” Oleksandr Mohylka, COMPASS Director

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