AWARE.ID UKRAINE: Emergency support for the cascades of care of HIV and related infectious diseases to help internally displaced people in the Lviv region of Ukraine
Astar Medical Center, Lviv, Ukraine with Erasmus University Medical Center & Erasmus MC Foundation, Rotterdam, Netherlands (www.astar.com.ua/en/ and https://awarehiv.com/en/Dare-to-Share-Care/Ukraine)
Dr Marta Vasylyev, Medical Director, Astar Medical Center, Ukraine; Dr Casper Rokx , Erasmus MC, Netherlands
European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) Young Investigators (YING)
Provision of care for HIV and related infectious diseases (ID) in Ukraine is compromised by the Russian military aggression. Within 4 days of the invasion, Aware.HIV.Ukraine was initiated together with HIV specialists united by the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) Young Investigators (YING), aiming to support Ukraine’s HIV care cascade by creating awareness, inter-physician connections and medical support through an evidence-based framework for the provision of emergency HIV care. The city of Lviv is a central hub for internally displaced people, however, Lviv’s healthcare system is overwhelmed. Treatment and care for many infectious diseases (IDs) is insufficient and stigmatized and there is a lack of accessible, stigma-free integrated diagnostic services.
The project aims to A) provide free test & treat services for HIV and other IDs (viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and COVID-19) to at least 1000 internally displaced people in Lviv via mobile services and checkpoints and to B) create a best practice model for emergency care of infectious disease to inform future refugee city hubs.
Based on the existing initiative Aware.HIV.Ukraine, a new initiative named Aware.ID.Ukraine will be established, aiming to decrease the barrier to testing, diagnosis, and linkage to care for internally displaced people with HIV, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, STI and COVID-19. The existing framework for provision of emergency HIV care will be adapted to the Lviv setting and expanded to guide the provision of treatment to people with HIV and other IDs. A testing checkpoint will be established, and a mobile van will be provided through collaboration with an existing NGO. People diagnosed with IDs will be referred to healthcare at the Astar Medical Center and Lviv Infectious Diseases Clinical Hospital and supported by project staff. To help guide the selection of tests to be offered, clients will be asked to complete a questionnaire on demographics, socio-economic and ID-related risks factors. Positive tests will trigger additional testing. The project and related data collection will run for one year, from August 2022 to August 2023.
Operational checkpoint and mobile test & treat services will be established in Lviv to generate information about the burden of infectious diseases in Lviv region, including the proportions of people at risk, diagnosed, linked to care and treated for various IDs. The data will be used to construct ID care cascades, overall and among specific sub-groups of people. The project will also generate data to help inform best practice models for the provision of emergency ID care in future refugee city hubs.