'Scaling up PrEP care in Ukraine, despite war'

The number of people in Ukraine using the HIV prevention drug PrEP is increasing rapidly. Many clinics for HIV care have been destroyed, but despite the war the country is in, it manages to boost PrEP use.
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Of the more than 8,700 PrEP users in Ukraine, about half started this year, Ukrainian government HIV epidemiologist Anna Koval said at a conference on HIV drugs last week. 43 percent of all users in Ukraine are gay or bisexual men.

Nevertheless, the war had an impact on the provision of PrEP. 31 clinics have been destroyed by Russian attacks, Koval said. The number of referrals also declined. “In March, there were only 185 PrEP referrals. Everyone was shocked. But then they started to climb again and in June we saw the highest number of new starts ever, 732."

The large increase, according to Koval, is due to the cooperation of the Ukrainian government with non-governmental organizations. The largest hub for PrEP delivery is Lviv, where traffic entering and leaving Ukraine converges.

However, the war also poses certain logistical problems. For example, gay and bisexual soldiers ask for a larger amount of pills, as they cannot return from the front every time to get a new dose.

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