AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Europe presented program results at the second biennial HepHIV 2017 conference in Malta on Jan. 31, which convened to address the rising number of new infections in Europe. Medical professionals from both the hepatitis and HIV community met to collaborate and exchange knowledge on how to maximize the prevention and management of both infections.
The conference, organized by “HIV in Europe,” was the ideal platform for AHF Europe to highlight its programs in Russia and Ukraine. These programs have shown success via AHF’s multifaceted approach to patient-centered HIV care, which combines psychosocial services with home visits, outreach, closer involvement of nurses and coordination with local partners.
In Russia, where access to treatment is assessed to be as low as 20 percent, through collaboration with the regional AIDS Center in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, 2,000 patients returned to care and an additional 1,200 patients either started or reinitiated treatment. In addition, the overall number of patients with suppressed viral loads has increased substantially due to the vital services they receive.
In rural Voznesensk, Ukraine, a collaboration was established between the Voznesensk HIV clinic and other medical professionals in the area to improve patient retention throughout the treatment process. Prior to this combined effort, only 5 percent of clients who missed an appointment returned to HIV care within a month, but that figure increased to 40 percent in 2016.
“These results clearly show that AHF, in partnership with governments, has substantially improved treatment and care in both countries since 2013,” said Zoya Shabarova, AHF Europe Bureau Chief.
AHF Europe’s program success shows how task-shifting – including utilizing nurses, social workers and other professionals – deliver services to those living with HIV who routinely experience barriers to treatment.