Yana Panfilova: “We Are so Young, but a Lot of People Have This Belief That We Can Change Our Country”

Subscribe and Listen

Yana Panfilova, a 24-year-old Ukrainian woman born with HIV, fled Kyiv shortly after Russia’s invasion and is currently based in Berlin with her mother, grandmother, and cat. Eight years ago, she helped found Teenergizer, an organization supported by UNAIDS that seeks to end discrimination against youth in Ukraine living with HIV. Over time, its scope widened to include other youth groups, and its services expanded into mental health counseling and sexual health training. Affiliates arose across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In the face of Covid-19 and, most recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Teenergizer greatly enlarged its network in Ukraine from 20 to over 120 counselors.

Using her experience living with HIV, Panfilova has reached more than 5 million teens living with HIV and those facing other forms of discrimination, providing them with the support she wished she had as an adolescent.
Jeffrey Sturchio
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Global Health Policy Center