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Youth Partner

Name: Ishkova Maria “Marusia” Alekseevna
Age: 20
Nationality: Russian Federation
Affiliated Organization:

Social Exclusion Young People AIDS (SEYPA)


Ishkova Maria Alekseevna is a facilitator of non-government non-commercial help self groups. She works with the SEYPA, which helps to reduce social exclusion of young people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Maria’s main occupation is to organize meetings for holidays, anniversaries and other occasions. She likes hip-hop parties, hanging out with friends and watching action movies.


UNFPA in Russia

In recent years, HIV transmission has been on the rise, especially among intravenous drug users and youth. In its response to a 2001 United Nations inquiry, the Government indicated that it viewed AIDS as an area of major concern. People of the Russian Federation have experienced major social changes over the past two decades. A sharp increase in the number of drug users and commercial sex workers led to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases. Incidence of syphilis among young people in the Russian Federation is almost 400 times higher than that in Western Europe. 88% of HIV infections today are caused by intravenous drug use; 15% of commercial sex workers in Moscow are HIV-positive. Young people are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS: 60% of HIV-positive Russians today are between 20 and 30 years old.

A number of national programmes in the field of reproductive health have been launched, aimed at improving the health of the entire population as well as for specific sub-groups such as pregnant women and disabled children. Future strategies identified by the Government include decreasing infant and maternal mortality, abortions and sexually transmitted infections; providing sexual and reproductive health education to adolescents and youth; and preventing the trafficking of women and children.

In 2000, UNFPA in association with UNICEF and in cooperation with regional Ministries of Health, Ministries of Education, and youth centers, launched a 2-year long project on the Reproductive Health and Rights of Young People in the Russian Federation. Targeting the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tver, Barnaul, Novosibirsk, and Tomsk, the project provided young people with information on their reproductive health and rights, ensured access to youth-friendly RH services, supported policy makers’ efforts to elaborate a nationwide RH policy for youth, and mobilized public opinion in favor of a balanced, culturally acceptable RH policy by involving the media and youth art associations in advocacy/information campaigns.

Another youth-friendly service established by UNFPA in Russia includes the youth-friendly clinic, Juventa, in St. Petersburg. The center is one of 12 throughout the city to offer comprehensive health services to Russian youth, including reproductive health care. UNFPA provides the clinic with technical support and reproductive health supplies, including contraceptives and condoms. Offering a confidential telephone hotline, educational programmes and medical services, the Juventa clinic has become a model in youth-friendly services. Visits to the clinic, which opened in 1993, have more than doubled from nearly 77,000 in 1996 to more than 182,000 in 2002. Juventa’s peer counsellors use their training and knowledge to help other youth avoid risky behaviour and make informed, responsible decisions.
DISPATCHES: September-October 2003, News from the United Nations Population Fund -- Issue Number 58

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