According to UNAIDS estimates, more than 1% of Ukrainian people are living with HIV, but only one-third of those infected are aware of their status. About 3,000 people die because of AIDS-related diseases every year in Ukraine. Although unsafe drug use is still playing the major role in spreading the infection, more and more new cases of transmission of HIV are associated with unsafe sex behavior.
As part of the fight against the epidemic, the largest private Ukrainian charity the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation has come up with creative ideas aimed at rising awareness within Ukrainian society about HIV/AIDS issues. In addition, they collect funds to help people living with HIV/AIDS across the country. These innovative charity initiatives are mostly web-based and involve partnership with large Ukrainian online services and social networks.
Beginning in 2007, the Elena Pinchuck Foundation has been running the Fashion AID project. The idea of the project is that well-known Ukrainian fashion designers, pop-stars, and TV presenters, together with amateur designers develop creative T-shirt designs promoting safe sex behavior. These T-shirts are available for purchase on the project website. All funds collected from the selling of the T-shirts are used to help Ukrainian children living with HIV. The updates about the new designs available are also posted on the Facebook page of the project.
On December 1, 2011 and in commemoration of World AIDS Day, the Elena Pinchuk Foundation, together with online information exchange service ex.ua, ran an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign among Ukrainian internet users. In 24 hours, the campaign reached more than 1 million users who viewed the awareness videos on the YouTube channel of the ANTIAIDS Foundation channel, which was a new record for Ukrainian social projects. About 100,000 users visited the website of the Fashion AID project, reported the web-site of Elena Pinchuk Foundation, and most of this visitors were people aged 18-35, which are the most vulnerable to HIV infection. In the framework of this awareness project, a permanent section with a collection of HIV/AIDS awareness videos from all over the world was created on the ex.ua website.In March 2011, the ANTIAIDS Foundation ran another online project aimed at collecting funds to purchase new modern equipment for cleaning donors’ blood from various infections including HIV. The project ‘Stars on Sale’ was implemented in the partnership with one of the biggest Ukrainian blogs korrespondent.net and the Ukrainian online auction Aukro.ua. The idea of the project was that Ukrainian users could bid on prizes donated TV, political, and sport celebrities. Among the auction items were such things as personal training with the Olympic Champion in Gymnastics Lilia Podkopayeva , golf with Ukrainian soccer star Andriy Shevchenko participation in a popular TV talk show, or a visit to the plenary meeting of Ukrainian parliament.
Finally, on December 15, the ANTIAIDS Foundation started one more online charity project ‘Dreams come true’. This Christmas project gives every person an opportunity to fulfill a dream of a HIV positive child. In partnership with International HIV/AIDS Alliance and All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV, the Foundation collected dreams from 800 HIV positive children from various regions of Ukraine and posted them on the web. People could donate either money or send gifts to fulfill a dream of a child, such as 11 year-old Maxim who wished ‘to have a new bicycle’ or 5 year-old Anastasia who wished ‘to have a doll and a lot of candies’.
According to the report of Elena Pinchuk Foundation in 5 days since the start of the project, Ukrainians made 592 HIV positive children's dreams come true.