Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From Policy to Practice: Case study of HIV testing in Ukraine

HealthRight examines access to HIV testing by pregnant women

In Ukraine, there is currently no unified approach to ensuring respect for the rights of women living with HIV, particularly in accessing HIV testing and care services.  In order to find out how national policies on HIV testing of pregnant women translate into practice, HealthRight International has partnered with the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the Open Society Institute to conduct a case study of HIV testing of pregnant women in Ukraine, including qualitative research on testing practices and a narrative collection of the experiences of HIV-positive women. 

HealthRight will lead research activities in Ukraine, with technical assistance from UNC.  HealthRight’s work will focus on the Donetsk Region, which has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the country.  Simultaneous studies will also be conducted by UNC and its partners in Kenya and South Africa, using the same methods to maximize comparability across sites.

The research component of the case study will focus on health provider practices in conducting HIV tests for pregnant women.  Researchers will interview providers at both rural and urban facilities, as well as pregnant women who recently tested for the first time at these facilities.

The narrative collection will be conducted in partnership with local community organizations, who will interview 30 HIV-positive women in the region about their experiences having been tested during pregnancy within the previous year.  These narratives will add a perspective on the longer-term impacts of testing practices on women.

The results of the project will be used as a tool to conduct targeted advocacy in Ukraine, in order to address practices identified as failing to protect women’s rights, or as presenting barriers to care.

HealthRight has been working since 2006 to build lasting access to comprehensive services for pregnant women and families affected by HIV in Ukraine, through its MAMA+ project.  Learn more.


Human Rights Watch Report: Women and HIV Testing: Policies, Practices, and the Impact on Health and Human Rights