We are deeply shaken by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We are also compelled to speak up because this is an area of the world in which we at the HIV Legal Network work, a region where the HIV pandemic rages on.
The devastating occupation of Ukraine has enormous impacts on our work and on our partners, with whom we stand in solidarity as they face the unimaginable.
The occupation of Ukraine means that people living with HIV face disruptions to critical health services and medication, on which they depend. Ukraine’s laudable HIV prevention and human rights promotion efforts will also be collateral damage in this unprovoked war.
For people who use drugs in Ukraine, access to harm reduction measures — including opioid agonist therapy — is at serious risk.
And in war, people living with HIV, people who use drugs, LGBTQ+ people, people in prison, sex workers, and others who are already marginalized will suffer greatly. Lives will be lost, not only by gunfire and bombing.
We continue to monitor this evolving situation and connect with our in-country partners as we are able. The attack on Ukraine and its people will mean that many human rights projects will necessarily be put on hold, and that is heartbreaking.
But we remain committed to the people and to the projects meant to uphold their human rights. That will not change.
We stand united with Ukraine and with all Ukrainians. We stand with the many human rights activists working for change. And we stand with all those whose human rights are under threat.