Nearly 50,000 Ukrainians are diagnosed with tuberculosis each year, and research suggests that as many as 20 percent of those diagnosed are also living with HIV or AIDS. Drug use not only makes adherence to medication difficult, but also hampers getting quality health care in general. In January 2011, photojournalist Misha Friedman traveled to eastern Ukraine to document the unique challenges that tuberculosis patients in the region face to access treatment.
March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day, an annual event to raise public awareness and remember the 1.6 million people who die of TB each year. To mark the occasion, the Open Society Public Health Program presents a series of blog posts on the struggles of TB patients in Ukraine, especially among the country’s 400,000 citizens who use drugs. This is the first entry.