COVID-19 and the War: ECOM Research on the impact of war on PrEP users in Ukraine

Июль 27, 2022
Логотип ECOM для новостей
ECOM presented the results of the study titled “COVID-19, sexual behavior and intimate partner violence among PrEP users in Ukraine,” which was conducted jointly with the Alliance for Public Health in partnership with national organizations in Ukraine and the School of Social Sciences and Technologies of the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

The objective of the study was to assess the impact of the pandemic on the health of PrEP users in Ukraine. The data collection phase was completed three days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the onset of the full-scale war.

“COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the health and well-being of people around the world. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the LGBT community as well; however, there are very limited data on specific examples of impact in the EECA region. In addition, a number of studies conducted in other countries have demonstrated that the pandemic has led to an increase in sexual partner violence. Taking all these factors into account, we, jointly with partners from the Alliance for Public Health and the “ALLIANCE.GLOBAL” NGO, and with technical support from the Technical University of Munich, have launched this study.
Although data collection was completed three days before the onset of the full-scale war, and the fact that community members’ priorities and challenges have completely changed, this has not resulted in data distortion. On the contrary, we decided to use the data to draw the attention of international donors and organizations to the problems caused by the pandemic and, accordingly, will be aggravated by the war, and to propose solutions and recommendations to solve these problems,” says Nikolay Lunchenkov, ECOM LGBT Health Coordinator and author of the study.

The results of the study were presented to the partners of ECOM in Ukraine, as well as to representatives of international organizations and donors. ECOM perceives that war is a bigger crisis than COVID-19 pandemic; so, the global community must respond to this crisis immediately.

Below are the main conclusions drawn from the findings of the study:
  • PrEP projects in Ukraine need increased commitment and support in order to continue building their capacity and providing services
  • Provision of mental health services specifically for LGBT people in Ukraine should be scaled up
  • There is an urgent need to address the issue of intimate partner violence in LGBT relations
  • Internally displaced LGBT people should not fall off radar of health services
  • More extensive research is needed on the impact of war on social and health-related areas

Furthermore, authors of the study have developed a number of recommendations that can improve access to health services for LGBT people in Ukraine.

To the Ukrainian government: 
  • Strengthen commitment to PrEP programs for gay men and other MSM;
  • Ensure provision of health services to LGBT people who are internally displaced as a result of the war with Russia.

    To international donors: 
    • Increase financial and technical support to PrEP programs in Ukraine;
    • Establish and scale-up support to mental health services for LGBT people;
    • Support research in impact of war on health of LGBT people.

    To the LGBT community and NGOs: 
    • Maintain and build capacity and skills of social workers and case managers on PrEP;
    • Advocate for and establish services in mental health for LGBT people;
    • Start discourse on intimate partner violence in LGBT community and provide prevention and support on intimate partner violence.

    To academia:
    • Initiate research in intimate partner violence among LGBT people;
    • Conduct research in impact of war on social and health-related aspects of lives of LGBT people.


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