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HIV-positive Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic: a retrospective, observational study.

AIDS 2023 July 5
OBJECTIVE: Over 480 000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the Czech Republic since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, including over 500 people with HIV. This study describes the demographics, characteristics, and management of Ukrainian refugees with HIV in the Czech Republic.

DESIGN: Retrospective, observational, non-interventional study.

METHODS: Ukrainian nationals registering at HIV centers in the Czech Republic with war refugee status were included. Data were collected from medical records between 1 March and 31 July 2022. The study was registered with the Czech State Institute for Drug Control, ID number 2301200000.

RESULTS: 482 patients were included in the study. Most patients were female (69.5%; n  = 335/482) with well-controlled HIV. The median [interquartile range] CD4+ cell count was 597 [397] cells/mm 3 of blood, and 79.3% ( n  = 361/455) of patients had HIV RNA <40 copies/ml. Coinfections of hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, and/or tuberculosis were reported for 17.4% ( n  = 78/449), 9% ( n  = 40/446) and 1.3% ( n  = 6/446) of patients, respectively. In Ukraine, 85.7% ( n  = 384/448) of patients had been receiving an integrase strand transfer inhibitor-based regimen and most (69.7%; n  = 310/445) did not switch therapy upon arrival in the Czech Republic.

CONCLUSION: Migration from Ukraine is changing the characteristics of HIV epidemiology in the Czech Republic. Ukrainian refugees with HIV have been provided with a high standard of medical care in the Czech Republic. Improved coordination between medical services within the Czech Republic and between countries in the European Union is necessary to optimize patient care.

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