Refugees living with HIV receive the necessary help and support in Moldova
25 February 2023
Елена Lavskaya from Donetsk oblast has not been home for almost a year. Today she lives in Tiraspol together with two children and a husband.
On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation invaded the territory of Ukraine. On the first day of the military invasion, citizens of Ukraine were forced to leave their country, abandoning their homes, leaving behind hopes and plans for the future. Among all these people were those who needed special help – these were people living with HIV, patients with tuberculosis and/or hepatitis and drug users. Since the first days of the war in Ukraine, Moldova and international donors provide financial support to non-governmental organizations on both banks of the Dniester river to help refugees. Including from key population groups affected by HIV and tuberculosis.
Елена Lavskaya from Donetsk oblast has not been home for almost a year. Today she lives in Tiraspol together with two children and a husband. "The first two weeks after the start of the war, we hid in the cold basement, because we didn't have a bomb shelter. And then the husband decided that we should leave", - says Elena.
Elena lives with her family in a rented apartment, the oldest son goes to school, the youngest will soon go to kindergarten. Her family regularly receives humanitarian aid from local non-governmental organizations. Including special antiretroviral treatment, necessary for maintaining her health.
"I've lived with HIV for many years, so I know how important it is to take treatment regularly." After the evacuation, I ran out of drugs and I turned to the local non-governmental organization. They immediately gave me the necessary medicines, I am very grateful to everyone, thanks to whom this became possible», says Elena.
Before the start of the war, about 260,000 people with HIV infection lived in Ukraine. Of them, approximately 152,000 received ARV therapy on a permanent basis. According to UN estimates, approximately 30,000 people with HIV infection have left Ukraine. Some managed to take their medicine with them, others did not.
In Moldova, patients from Ukraine receive all the services they need quickly, qualitatively and without bureaucratic red tape. In Moldova they can access ARV, anti-tuberculosis therapy, pre-contact prophylaxis or opioid substitution therapy etc.
"Since the beginning of the war, the UNAIDS managed to mobilize additional financial resources, that have been redirected to NGOs as small grants for support in the context of the refugee crisis. These grants were aimed at providing services for the prevention/screening/treatment of tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis among refugees, affected and living with HIV", - said Svetlana Plamadeala, country coordinator of UNAIDS Moldova. "
At the beginning of the war, our little country with a big heart accepted the highest number of refugees per capita in Europe. The mobilization of the government, citizens and society as a whole impressed and became an example of humanity for the whole world".