Meet the CIPHER grantees

Heather Bailey

Year awarded: 2015
Institution: University College London
Research site: Regional HIV/AIDS centres in Ukraine, coordinated by the Perinatal Prevention of AIDS Initiative, a community-based organization in Odessa
Primary mentor: Ali Judd, UCL

Heather Bailey is an epidemiologist based at UCL, London. She conducted her CIPHER project, focused on HIV-positive youth in Ukraine, in partnership with Dr Galyna Kiseleva and the PENTA-funded Ukraine Paediatric HIV Cohort Study.

More information on Heather | Email

“I would like to thank CIPHER for the opportunity to conduct this important research, as well as the network of collaborators, and the young people who took part.”

Research project: HIV-positive youth in Ukraine: characteristics, outcomes and models of service provision

The issue

Ukraine’s HIV-positive population is among the largest in Europe and includes around 3,000 under 18 year olds in HIV care. Young people living with HIV in Ukraine include those living with perinatally acquired infection (who are entering adolescence and young adulthood in increasing numbers) and marginalized subgroups of youth with HIV acquired sexually or via drug use. Evidence from other settings has shown that adolescents and young adults are at potentially increased risk of poor outcomes in HIV care.

The CIPHER project

Dr Bailey and her colleagues mapped the population of young people (10-24 years) receiving HIV services in Ukraine, and found that characteristics of the population and services available in HIV care differed by region, with potential implications for structural barriers to HIV care for young people.

Young people living with behaviourally acquired HIV reported higher levels of felt stigma than those living with perinatally acquired HIV, but similar levels of anxiety/depression and similar self-rated ability to take ART. Study results suggested that adherence to ART may be supported by addressing concerns about or perceived necessity of treatment, and increasing self-esteem.

Young people living with perinatally acquired HIV were doing well on ART, with 90% attaining virological suppression. Rates of virological suppression appeared lower among those with behaviourally acquired HIV, although they were consistent with national figures for adults generally.

The impact

This project has supported training and development within local research networks and generated findings to inform delivery of services to young people living with HIV. Ukraine’s updated national clinical protocol for HIV care references this work and includes recommendations on the strengthening of services for adolescents.