Ukraine Conflict Has Increased Spread of HIV in 'Silent Epidemic'

2018/1/18 13:18:12

Photo: A patient waits to be treated in the toxicology unit in a hospital treating drug users in separatist-held Donetsk.


By RFE/RL, January 16, 2018 04:21 GMT


The conflict in eastern Ukraine has increased the spread of HIV throughout the country as people have been uprooted by the violence, a new study finds.


Areas such as Donetsk and Luhansk, two large cities in the east deeply affected by the violence that erupted in 2014, were the main exporters of the HIV virus to other parts of the country such as Kyiv and Odesa, the report published on January 15 in the U.S. journal PNAS found.


Ukraine has among the highest HIV rates in Europe, with an estimated 220,000 infected in a country of about 45 million.


The study says the HIV crisis in Ukraine has become a "silent epidemic" because half of HIV-infected people are unaware they have the infection, and around 40 percent of newly diagnosed people are in the later stages of the disease.


To produce the study, an international team of scientists led by Oxford University and Public Health England analyzed viral migration patterns in Ukraine from 2012 to 2015. They found a correlation between the movement of 1.7 million people uprooted by the war and the spread of HIV.


"The war changed a lot of things in Ukraine and the HIV epidemic is one of them," lead author Tetyana Vasylyeva of Oxford University's zoology department said.


"When we conducted our analysis, we were able to show that the viral spread from the east to the rest of the country had been intensified after the war."


[…] ... tsk-luhansk/28977792.html



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