© Andrea Diefenbach, Untitled, from the series [Spid] AIDS in Odessa, 2006


© Andrea Diefenbach, Untitled, from the series [Spid] AIDS in Odessa, 2006

“Odessa is known as ›pearl at the black sea‹. It is the port in the south of the Ukraine – one of the countries, which has been hit heavily by the fall of the Soviet Union. One of many symptoms of the collapse is the AIDS epidemic. Since a short time the Ukraine holds the sad European record for new cases of infection, and is among those nations in which AIDS is currently spreading most quickly. The first case of HIV infection was reported in 1987. The frequency of new infections began to rise rapidly in the mid-1990s and has shown no sign of abating since then. The disease initially spread through intravenous drug users and sex workers in the southern parts of the country. Today HIV/AIDS appears in the whole population and in all of Ukraines regions. According to estimates, some 416,000 peopleЯr 17 percent of all Ukrainians aged fifteen to forty-nineзere either HIV-positive or suffering from full-blown AIDS in 2005. Due to the seven- to ten-year incubation period, more and more people are dying of AIDS as the years pass.Odessa, the port city through which the HIV virus is presumed to have been introduced to the countries of the Soviet Union, is now one of the more heavily impacted cities. Estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that as many as 160,000 individuals infected with HIV live in the city of one million.
Andrea Diefenbach

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