Background: Ukraine, with a population of 45 million, ranks among the highest prevalence of HIV of any European country. Much of the epidemic has been described in higher-incidence areas of Eastern Ukraine, but less is known about Western Ukraine. We present here an analysis of epidemiological data collected on HIV testing categories from the L’viv Oblast over a period of 7 years.
Methods: HIV testing data was collected by epidemiologists at the L’viv Regional AIDS Center (LRAC) from 2005 to 2011. Numbers were broken down into categories and include total number tested within each category as well as number testing positive.
Results: Between 2005 and 2011, the results of 718,953 HIV tests were recorded at LRAC. Of these, 384,675 (53.5%) were conducted on pregnant women and 176,622 (24.6%) on individuals donating blood. In this seven-year period, a total of 4,419 positive tests were recorded for all categories. The largest proportions of positive tests were in the following groups: prisoners (1,083 out of 4,419; 24.5%), people tested for clinical indication (963; 21.8%), IDUs (651; 14.7%), and people tested anonymously (532; 12.0%). During this period, there has been more than a 32-fold increase overall in testing rates for “individuals screened for HIV prevention.” Only 46 individuals identified as having had homosexual contact with an HIV-infected person, and 4 of these tested positive.
Conclusions: This study suggests that efforts at preventive screening for HIV have increased in this region, but that further research is needed to understand and expand the testing options for most at-risk populations. In particular, the incarcerated population is a high priority for targeted testing, and MSM are likely an underrepresented risk category.