Combination HIV/HCV/HBV/STIs prevention among MSM and use of mobile applications/social networks at the COVID-19 conditions in Ukraine


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on displacement have made it more difficult to provide HIV testing and PrEP services to MSM in large Ukrainian cities. The purpose of the intervention is to maintain the effectiveness of the provision of these services during COVID-19 and to implement new and innovative interventions in this regard, making the services more mobile.
DESCRIPTION: The methodology consists of conducting two national campaigns aimed at MSM recruiting in 3 largest cities of Ukraine, for conducting of HIV/STI/HCV testing, as well as to attract to the PrEP program, through targeted advertising on gay dating applications, search engines and in social networks for directing to web resources and, for passing of testing and/or to receive equal counseling on PrEP by appointment, at Alliance.Global`s testing points. All MSM who have been positive result of HIV test, have been provided a social support to receive ART and be involved to the PLHIV/MSM support program. For HIV-negative MSM, we offer to become a member of the free PrEP program and provide of bonuses.
LESSONS LEARNED: Thanks to advertising on two web resources, during September-December 2020, 109,797 users visited the GetTest website, of which 841 MSM registered for HIV/HCV/STI testing and 80% of them were tested (the number of HIV-positive results was approximately 4%). 3244 MSM have learned about the PrEP program during this period, approximately 300 new MSM have been attracted to the PrEP program, in particular through bonuses and innovations such as taxi delivery, etc. (the coverage of the PrEP program in 3 cities in 2020 amounted about 1,300 MSM).
CONCLUSIONS: Thanks to the introduction of two advertising campaigns on the Internet, in the conditions of lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic, as well as such innovative interventions as delivery of clients by taxi to receive PrEP in a medical institution, receiving the free premium accounts in the mobile gay application Hornet, compliance with sanitary norms (free masks, disinfectants, etc.) and mandatory pre-registration (to avoid queues), we were able to successfully provide services, and increase the intensity of testing and staging to the PrEP for MSM compared to the first half of 2020.