UNAIDS is calling for the protection of health workers and uninterrupted continuation of HIV and health services for all people, including people living with and affected by HIV. Ukraine has the second largest AIDS epidemic in the region. It is estimated that there are 250 000 people living with HIV in Ukraine, 156 000 of whom are on antiretroviral therapy, medication that needs to be taken daily for people to remain alive and well amidst the ongoing military offensive against Ukraine.
According to a statement released by UNAIDS, their Executive Director Winnie Byanyima says, “People living with HIV in Ukraine only have a few weeks of antiretroviral therapy remaining with them, and without continuous access their lives are at risk The hundreds of thousands of people living with and affected by HIV in Ukraine must have unbroken access to life-saving HIV services, including HIV prevention, testing and treatment.”
“To date, the Government of Ukraine, together with civil society and international organizations, have implemented one of the largest and most effective HIV responses in Eastern Europe and central Asia. However, with the ongoing military offensive, the efforts and gains made in responding to HIV are in serious risk of being reversed, putting even more lives in danger.” Says the Statement from UNAIDS.
The statement adds “The right to health and access to HIV services must always be protected, and health workers, representatives of civil society and their clients must never be targets in a conflict. The ongoing military conflict has affected everyone in Ukraine but is likely to be particularly hard for people living with HIV and key populations, including people who use drugs, sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men and transgender people.”
Dr Frank Mugisha the Executive Director Sexual Minorities Uganda says, “The LGBT Community in Ukraine need the world’s support.”
As of today the LGBTQ community in Ukraine continue to stand with their country and hold forte as talks on how to end the war between Ukrain and Russia continue.