Alla Melnyk, StreetPower coordinator: “The kids are afraid to speak out, so you never see them. They are the lost generation, quite literally.”

Ukraine is currently experiencing Eastern Europe’s second worst HIV epidemic, which has been exacerbated by a boom in drug use and lack of awareness about safer sex.

After violence erupted in Ukraine in 2013 and the government was overthrown, more and more teenagers ended up on the streets of the capital city. StreetPower youth club is one of the few places helping them. The centre offers HIV testing, provides free contraception and teaches about safer sex and harm reduction in drug use.

Near the industrial suburb where StreetPower is based, dealers taking advantage of the young and vulnerable, some of who are already on spice (synthetic marijuana), low-quality amphetamines and “bath salts”. “Bring 10 friends and get a gram free” is the deal that is offered to get more young people hooked. No one really knows for sure what that gram is.

When high, people are less likely to practice safer sex, and it is primarily sexual transmission of HIV that is leading to Ukraine’s HIV epidemic.

Our #AIDSfree appeal supports programmes like StreetPower which make sure that young people in Kiev, who have been left highly vulnerable to HIV, can be taught how to best protect themselves.

“These are our kids who deserve protection.”

Help us reach them by donating today.

Through UK Aid Match, the UK government will double public donations up to £2 million to be spent across projects in Maputo and Nairobi.

Donate through JustGiving

£5 provides vital HIV testing information to those at risk

£20 will pay for a self-testing kit so those stigmatised can receive the help they need

£100 will ensure someone with a positive diagnosis is given the right treatment