Ukraine develops modern and progressive clinical protocol for HIV treatment

WHO finalized an international review of a breakthrough clinical protocol for HIV infection in Ukraine that will put the country on the fast track to scaling up HIV treatment and care.

The protocol will advance progress towards the global 90–90–90 targets for HIV for 2020: 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90% of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy (ART); and 90% of people receiving ART achieve viral load suppression. This work to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat also aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Marthe Everard, WHO Representative in Ukraine, said: “This is a significant moment for Ukraine. The Ukrainian Ministry of Health has developed a modern and progressive national protocol aligned with international standards and WHO recommendations for a public health approach to HIV treatment and care.”

WHO provided the Ministry of Health with key recommendations, along with a message of encouragement to finalize the new protocol based on the expert advice. On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2017, the Ministry of Health discussed the review and recommendations with a view to concluding the work on the protocol.

Key WHO recommendations outlined in the review include:

  • initiating ART for all HIV-positive people as soon as possible after HIV diagnosis; and
  • including Dolutegravir (DTG) in the preferred first-line ART regimen.

DTG is one of several antiretroviral medicines included in the integrase inhibitor class. When combined with other recommended antiretroviral medicines, it is considered to be among the best current treatments for HIV.

If these recommendations are accepted, Ukraine will be among the first countries worldwide to use DTG as a first-line HIV treatment regimen.

Currently, Ukraine has the second-highest rate of HIV infection in the Region (33.7 per 100 000 population). It reported over 10 000 new cases in 2016.