The Ukrainian Centre for Socially Dangerous Disease Control (UCDC) estimates that 24% of all new HIV infections in 2014 happened in conflict-affected areas and that 21% of people receiving ART live in disputed territories.5 The high concentration of vulnerable populations in conflict-affected areas, coupled with the worsening socio-economic situation unfolding in Ukraine as a result of the war, are of great concern for the country’s HIV response.
Ukraine’s HIV epidemic has been closely associated with injecting drug use, which increased in the mid-1990s during the socio-economic crisis that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union.
In 2015, 9,043 people became infected with HIV through heterosexual sex – roughly the same number as in 2010, when 9,122 people were infected.
New heterosexual HIV infections peaked at 11,472 in 2013, suggesting that infections through this route are starting to slow.1718 The majority of people who inject drugs in Ukraine are men.
Harsh criminalisation of drug use has resulted in extraordinarily high levels of incarceration in the country.
Before conflict broke out in 2013, 324 people out of every 100,000 were incarcerated – well in excess of the world average of 146 out of 100,000.
An additional 14,000 people covered by Crimea’s HIV prevention programmes were no longer able to access these services.