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#39, August, 2017
In this issue:
How RESPOND Transformed my Life 
Participate in VIDEO Competition

Mark your calendars! Final RESPOND Partner Conference will take place in Kyiv on November 7-8, 2017

RESPOND Supports Partners in Ensuring the Effectiveness of ART

In the context of UNAIDS’ Fast Track Strategy to End the AIDS Epidemics by 2030 known as “90-90-90,” it is very important to not only detect 90% of people living with HIV (PLHIV), but also initiate 90% of them on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and further ensure retention of 90% of those on ART. While implementing the strategy, Ukrainian service providers are looking for solutions to address many challenges, such as poor quality of services, unfriendliness of the system towards clients, as well as patients’ resistance to taking care of their health or the health of their peers.
Poor patient retention undermines program efforts and patient outcomes, and does not allow achieving sustained viral suppression. Individual factors interfering with ART adherence include missing doses, travel, changes in daily routine, depression or other illness, substance or alcohol use, lack of supportive environment, HIV-related stigma and discrimination, complexity of dosing regiments, distance to health services, long waiting times to receive care and obtain refills, and the burden of direct and indirect costs of care.
RESPOND-led Quality Improvement efforts help address these and other issues to ensure that people on ART are retained in care. Implementation of community-based behavior change interventions has been one of the RESPOND’s approaches aimed at improving HIV service continuum. RESPOND adapted and piloted a number of evidence-based interventions. Each specific intervention is customized toward specific behavior as well as to target population. 
Among several interventions that RESPOND packaged and piloted in partnership with the PLHIV Network, there is one designed to improve adherence to ART and other medical services. It’s titled Patient School and is provided through individual counselling sessions.

To improve outcomes, Patient School was implemented in combination with Studio of Opportunities, an economic empowerment intervention. This Integrated Health and Livelihood Intervention was piloted over eighteen months by four non-governmental organizations in Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Poltava regions. A total of 433 PLHIV were enrolled in Patient School. Of them, 205 were women with young children, who then participated in the Studio of Opportunities, an economic strengthening and livelihood program. 

Based on self-reports, the proportion of Patient School participants with high adherence increased from 5 to 92 percent by the end of intervention.
Patient School participants had significantly higher quality of life, compared to the control group. Intervention participants were better at attending regular follow-up visits and TB screening. According to Patient School participants, its main value was information about HIV and ART, whereas participants of the control group highlighted material assistance they received from NGOs as the most valuable benefits.
RESPOND also supported nine NGOs in implementing a combined intervention to improve the HIV service continuum at ART sites. Since October 2016, 3,817 people received services along the continuum. Patient School has been a component of this intervention covering 30 ART sites in eight RESPOND’s focus regions. A total of 1,678 PLHIV participated in Patient School, including 92 patients newly initiated on ART, and 1,586 patients demonstrating prior poor adherence. Among graduates, 87% show high ART adherence.
While RESPOND-supported interventions will end on September 30, 2017, Patient School will be sustained by the PLHIV Network under the Global Fund program. RESPOND has trained Network’s trainers and implementers, and shared with them all methodological materials. 

To support ART patients, RESPOND has also developed, published and distributed to ART sites the brochure on How to Make ART Effective. The brochure was designed to assist patients on ART in effective adherence to treatment and was developed with direct involvement of both patients and health service providers.
To enable ART sites better support their patients, RESPOND initiated a series of trainings for nurses. These trainings will help to shift the task of building ART adherence in PLHIV from ART site physicians to nurses. In August 2017, 42 ART site nurses from Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya regions completed the training. In September, RESPOND will train nurses from other six focus regions (Kherson, Kirovohrad, Kyiv, Mykolayiv, and Odesa regions and the city of Kyiv).
All implementation guides and tools are available in the Resources section of our website (http:/ and at the National Strategic Information Portal ( 

How RESPOND Transformed my Life
Participate in VIDEO Competition and WIN A LAPTOP!  

Tell us about transformations that took place in your life and work because of your involvement with RESPOND. Make a video and WIN A LAPTOP!

The video should be up to 1 minute long. It can be recorded on your phone.
Send the video to Larysa Kurashyna via email ( from your smartphones by September 15th, 2017.
The RESPOND team will review the videos and will pick the winners.

The winners will be announced and awarded at the final project conference in November 2017.

Top three winner organizations will get LAPTOPS! 

Good luck!



  • Quality of Services
  • Network and Organizational Strengthening
  • Data for Decision Making
The USAID RESPOND Project funded under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is aimed at reducing the HIV transmission among key populations in Ukraine. The project is implemented by Pact, Inc. in partnership with FHI 360. 
This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. 
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