The World Health Organization said on Tuesday (Apr 5) it will supply thousands of doses of life-saving antiretroviral drugs to Ukraine to cover the needs of HIV patients in the country for the next 12 months.
WHO, along with the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Ukrainian authorities and other partners, has procured 209,000 packs of generic antiretroviral drug TLD.
Ukraine has an estimated 260,000 people living with HIV, the second largest number in Europe after Russia, and prior to Moscow's invasion around half of them were on antiretroviral treatment.
Last month, the UN agency for HIV/AIDS warned that Ukraine was left with less than a month's supply of drugs for HIV patients.
"This war has the potential to undermine the hard-earned progress of recent years on a number of health issues, including HIV. We could not let that happen when Ukraine had begun to turn a corner on HIV," WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri P. Kluge said.
While there is no cure for HIV, antiretroviral medicines can control the virus and prevent onward sexual transmission to other people. Any disruption in treatment can lead to complications including drug resistance.
The first batch of the HIV drugs has crossed the Polish border into Ukraine and is about to be transported to HIV service facilities across the country, WHO said.