Each soldier in the ATO area will be able to undergo voluntary testing for HIV / AIDS

As a result of the cooperation of IHO "International Institute of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis" and the medical service of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine a voluntary testing of servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine began in April of this year in the area of the anti-terrorist operation. This project was implemented for the purpose of early diagnosis of HIV / AIDS.

Testing is carried out by medical brigades of military mobile hospitals of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine including epidemiologists of mobile sanitary and epidemiological groups. The principles of willingly, confidentiality, and on request and anonymity are strictly adhered to when conducting testing. According to the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, testing is positively perceived in the troops both among servicemen of the officer and military personnel of the military service under the contract. They understand the importance the importance of identifying their HIV status, and each soldier is made aware of the appropriateness and necessity of testing.

Effective cooperation and its positive results became possible thanks to the implementation of the DHAPP PEPFAR project (US President's Emergency Plan for HIV / AIDS Relief) in which the United States Government has allocated funding to fight HIV / AIDS. This decision was taken during consultations and discussions of country’s operational plans (COP 2017) on 2017 that took place in February in Washington.

The VCT Training Program «Prevention of HIV and other socially dangerous diseases among the Military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine»

      The INGO International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute” in partnership with the Military-Medical Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Central Sanitarian-Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine conductedthe VCT Training Program «Prevention of HIV and other socially dangerous diseases among the Military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine» during 13-15 of June, 2016 on the training premises of the Pushcha Lisova Hotel Complex located at Moshun, Kyiv region.. 
      This was happened due to lack of funding and any health observation of the mobilized soldiers to the  ATO zone  in early 2014. As a result,  to the ranks of the soldiers got people infected with viral infectious diseases, which carried a threat to others mobilized.
      Discussion of this problem was the initiative of Central Sanitarian-Epidemio-logical Department staff with IHATI staff within the framework of the support for technical assistance for the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and administered to foreign militaries by the US Navy on behalf of the DOD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP).  
      The training was conducted by two certified trainers – Ms. Tetyana Savchenko, and Ms. Inna Antonyuk, who were selected among several candidates for their experience in HIV training programs and their readiness to adopt the civilian program to meet  the needs and conditions of the AFU, especially to the ATO Zone. There were 25 participants in attendance from the following  military health services: SES – 10 people, Blood center -  3 persons,  VCT doctors- 2,  Laboratory specialists.

    The goal of the training was to develop the participant’s skills in HIV pre- and post-test counseling on HIV and in HIV testing using the "quick" tests. Participants of the training had an opportunity to practice  individually their skills in employing rapid test systems, and to carry out all the steps of the testing procedure.


     Program coordinator Ms. Tatyana Bila shared with the participants information about the 5,000 HIV quick tests donated by Dr. Eliot Jacobs Pearlman for a successful implementation of the training and the further usage of the knowledge received in the course of training and for VCT  military personnel in different regions of Ukraine. Also she noted that the request for 60,000 quick test submitted by MMD to ODC has been approved and the purchase and delivery of them are planned for October this year.
      Also she recommended that the VCT trainings must be implemented for selected categories of military medical professionals (Infectious Disease Doctors, Unit Surgeons, SES doctors) on constant basis, especially those who work with mobilized personnel which should to serve in the ATO zone and to work with them on their demobilization. Moreover, the program of VCT training approved by MOH must be adopted for the needs of uniformed services and officially approved.


The third conference on topic "Prevention of Social Diseases (HIV / AIDS, TB) in the Armed Forces of Ukraine"

            The International HIV / AIDS and Tuberculosis Institute (IHATI) in cooperation with the Military Medical Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Sanitary Epidemiological Department (SES) of the MOD conducted the scientific conference "Prevention of Social Diseases (HIV / AIDS, TB) in the Armed Forces of Ukraine" in the conference hall of the Hotel Aleksandrovsk in Odessa, April 27-28, 2016.

        Maj S. Litovka the Head of the SES introduced the results of the quality analyses for the last two years of infectious diseases in the Army. The biggest problems are HCV infections, along with the spreading of HIV and HBV infections, which has increased more than ten times among the mobilized Reservists, especially in the ATO Zone. The ATO zone is deemed a high risk area for infections because of poor hygiene caused by unsafe health practices such as risky sexual contact without condoms, unsafe tattooing, drug use, etc..


        Also he thanked DHAPP and IHATI for their support:  condoms, information-ladened playing cards, and posters which were distributed nation-wide in a timely manner to the key military populations (especially in the ATO Zone). He and many other senior officers rated very highly the playing cards developed by IHATI, as the most useful informational materials, which led the MMD IHATI  to provide MMD with additional production run of at least 12,000 decks.            
         Another speaker the Chief of the Military Clinical Medical Center of the Southern Region (MMCC-S), Col Vesna informed the group that the MMCC-S, has a mobile clinic, which was inherited from the USSR, while old enough, it is still functional and is used for serving soldiers in garrisons.
         Also he expressed his readiness to provide that vehicle to the representatives of SES, who will be able to do field sanitation inspections along with other disease control measures: testing for infectious diseases using quick tests in the local garrisons and military units.  
       Program coordinator in IHATI Ms. Tatyana Bila presented Col (Retired) Eliot Pearlman’s idea about including military personnel as a key population at risk for HIV (Global Fund, UNAIDS). She explained that for the moment members of key populations include the following:   Commercial Sex Workers (CSW), IV Drug Users, Men having Sex with Men (MSM) and prisoners. If military personnel will be considered as a Key Population, then MMD may qualify to receive free medical supplies and equipment and may eventually be able to apply directly for international funding.




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