War in Ukraine leaves HIV patients without treatment

The Lancet HIV cautioned in an article published Friday that organizations participating in Ukraine’s HIV response are fighting to sustain treatment and other services as the Russian invasion threatens to wipe out the country’s gains in this area.

Ukraine has an estimated 260 000 HIV-positive persons, and prior to the conflict, a comprehensive range of treatment, support, and preventive programs were available throughout the nation through official and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Unfortunately, the war has severely limited access to therapy in several locations. According to the journal, antiretroviral medication (ART) supplies are diminishing, and other support services have been drastically reduced or eliminated in certain regions.

“Over 150 000 people with HIV are taking ART in Ukraine, and fears are growing that security issues and damage to infrastructure could soon leave people, if they are not already, unable to access the treatment they need. Everyone involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Ukraine is worried,” Raman Hailevich, UNAIDS Country Director, Ukraine, told The Lancet HIV.

According to Olena Svyatyuk, leader of the Kyiv area network of individuals living with HIV, “100 percent LIFE,” therapy is still available in clinics in Kyiv, but getting it is difficult due to the city’s inoperable metro system.

“In eastern parts of the country, in places where fighting is going on, and in places where Russian troops are stationed, it is difficult to access treatment.”

Read the full article here.

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