Yushchenko Says a Tenth of Ukrainian Population May Die of AIDS in 5 Years

KHARKIV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said that the rate at which AIDS is spreading in the country has reached a "frightening" level and that the situation requires immediate reform of public health.

Yushchenko said that, in five years, the number of AIDS-infected people will increase 2.5 times and reach a mortality rate of 26 infected per 100,000 citizens.

"The rates at which the disease is spreading are awful. If the rates remain constant, then Ukraine will loose 10% of its population by 2010," Yushchenko said at the all-Ukrainian meeting of family physicians in Kharkiv.

The president said that he is worried by the increase in the number of those who suffer of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and tuberculosis.

The tuberculosis mortality rate is now 80 cases per 1,000 people, compared with five years ago when it was 60 cases per 1,000 people, the president said. Yushchenko said that the disease is spreading in "poorly monitored social groups.""This is a challenge to society and we should face it," Yushchenko said.

Yushchenko said that "malign diseases" are responsible for 12% of deaths in Ukraine. He said that the problem of the spread of cancer can no longer be ignored. Yushchenko said that "political means" in fighting these diseases should be worked out.

Source: Daily News Bulletin