HIV prevention among LGBT people in Ukraine: much is needed
Issues: The HIV rate among MSM in Ukraine is considered low, according to official statistics. However, most recently conducted surveys offering HIV-testing suggest that the real number of those living with HIV in this sub-population may range from four to 28% in various cities of Ukraine (the average being around 10%).
Description: All over the country, HIV prevention interventions targeting the LGBT-community are at their initial stage of implementation, thanks to the Global Fund Round 6 grant. Despite the fact that MSM are now recognized as one of the most at-risk populations in the National Strategy, there is no funding from governmental sources. Currently, there are 9 prevention projects funded through the Global Fund´s primary recipient, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance; in addition, several projects have received grants from COC, a Dutch NGO. Most of the projects are being carried out by ordinary HIV-service organisations because of ongoing difficulties in the registration of NGOs officially dealing with LGBT issues.
• The HIV prevention needs of LGBT-community are not a priority for the national response to HIV/AIDS.
• Outreach services are poorly developed.
• Specialists working in HIV-service organisations have limited access to the LGBT community.
• Commercial gay venues are not interested in promoting HIV-related information and events.
• There is no joint advocacy or programmatic plan developed by existing NGOs, and this necessitates urgent efforts to coordinate and mobilize the LGBT communities.
Next steps: At the end of 2007, the Working Group on LGBT Issues was formed, comprising experts and leaders of the LGBT-movement. The tasks of this group are
(1) to recommend to donors what needs to be done to ensure the quality of services offered, and
(2) to properly coordinate activities aimed at HIV prevention, treatment and care among LGBT people.