3: ‘Everyone is on their own and nobody needs us’: women ageing with HIV in Ukraine

Current HIV prevention programmes in Ukraine are focused on sexual education of young people and prevention of vertical transmission, and on drug users. This chapter considers the experiences of Ukrainian older women who have HIV. Based on 12 interviews with HIV-positive women and representatives of HIV community services, the study identifies specific social and psychological problems of this group, reveals their attitudes towards their sexual lives and exposes their strengths and vulnerabilities. Notable findings of the research include: the self-blame and moral suffering of older women living with HIV; their scorned intimacies, which tend to be hidden; and the need to adjust national approaches to epidemic control in order to integrate the needs of older people into HIV policy. The chapter provides recommendations for prevention interventions for women ageing with HIV.

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