Anton was 14 when he started using drugs and 16 when he began injecting himself. Anton’s life comprised of health issues and regular conflicts with law enforcement and he had no job, home or family; he describes himself at this time as an “ordinary street junkie”.
Over the 11 years he used drugs, he tried to stop many times, but nothing worked until he started opioid substitution therapy as a client of a harm reduction program. In 2003, thanks to the introduction of these Global Fund programs, he found out he had HIV and hepatitis C and started anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Then in 2004, Anton was one of the first patients in Ukraine of Global Fund-financed opioid substitution therapy. It was then his life turned around.
Now Anton coordinates national harm reduction projects and participates in consultations, conferences, working groups and campaigns at national, regional and international levels. His organization runs the country’s Global Fund-financed harm reduction programs.
Anton says that “only thanks to the support of the Global Fund, substitution therapy came into my life and turned it upside down. I started antiretroviral treatment in time and I’m still alive. I’m one of 17 million lives saved by the Global Fund.” For Anton, he’s seen first-hand why the Global Fund needs to continue to fight against a resurgence of the epidemic in Eastern Europe.