The study was conducted as part of the regional project “Partnership for Equitable Access to HIV care continuum,” implemented by the ECUO with the financial support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. It is the final assessment stage at the final stage of the project (the baseline evaluation was conducted in 2016).

The study aimed to identify systemic barriers (legislative, political, economic, organizational, medical, social, cultural and others) in the countries of the EECA region that prevent access to HIV care continuum for all PLHIV, PLHIV/TB and certain key populations (PUID, SW, MSM).

Geography of the overview:

  1. 6 countries for in-depth analysis (including sociological data collection): Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, and Estonia.
  2. 8 countries for conducting a desk study only: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine.

The research methodology is based on the use of several methods of data collection and its further analysis:

  1. desk research:data review from official statistics of 14 EECA countries, reports, analytical notes, results of the biobehavioral study, national protocols for HIV treatment and other relevant documents;
  2. collection of sociological data, including focus groups with community representatives (PLHIV and KAP) and in-depth interviews with experts (heads of medical institutions and HIV service NGOs) in 6 countries (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation), Uzbekistan, Estonia).

In each of the 6 countries for in-depth data analysis, we held the following:

  • 2 FGDs: one with PLHIV receiving ART and one with PLHIV who are officially diagnosed with HIV but do not receive ART. Both FGD participants included PLHIV who are among and not among KAP;
  • 4 in-depth interviews with experts:one interview with an expert representing the national HIV service, the TB and drug services, and the HIV service NGO.

Thus,a total of 12 focus groups and 24 in-depth interviews were conducted.