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WHO and other organizations bring HIV drugs to Ukraine

Picture of Tina Gutiérrez
Tina Gutiérrez

More than a month after the Russian invasion, various international bodies and civil organizations seek to ensure that people with HIV in Ukraine do not interrupt their treatment due to the ravages of war.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Ukraine has one of the highest HIV infection rates in Europe, in addition to the fact that during 2020 it registered the highest number of AIDS cases in the region. Despite this, as a country it had begun to improve its levels of HIV detection and care, as stated by Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, the newspaper El Independiente reported.

Buy in record time

To prevent an HIV drug shortage crisis, WHO, together with the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Ukrainian authorities and civil organizations purchased 209,000 packages of one of the most modern antiretroviral cocktails, with the aim of covering treatments for the next 12 months.

The first batch of these drugs has already entered the country from Poland and additional drugs have also just been purchased in presentations for children.

Jarno Habicht, WHO representative in Ukraine, stressed that this effort became a reality in four weeks, “much faster than ever”, because the parties involved did everything possible to prevent people with HIV from having to interrupt their treatment or see the need to change it, “something that can cause death,” he asserted.

Despite the impact of the war and the fact that health services had been strongly affected by the COVID-19 epidemic (just like all over the world), as of March 21 only 36 of the 403 HIV treatment centers in Ukraine had had to close down, but most remained fully or partially operational.

It is important to remember that HIV treatment is effective only when it is taken on time and without interruption. If you live with HIV and have suspended or have not started your treatment, contact AHF Latin America and the Caribbean and we will help you. Locate our closest office in your country, we are in 11 nations in the region.