Public Health Seminar Series:

Using Molecular Epidemiology to Uncover Socio-Political Factors that Shaped the Ukrainian HIV epidemic by Tetyana Vasylyeva

Monday, April 8, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm Calit2 Auditorium OCW Video Archive
Seminar Abstract

After independence in 1991, Ukraine struggled with political, economic, and social crises, which led to the expansion of drug trafficking and drug use, which subsequently enabled fast HIV spread. Interestingly, the two different HIV-1 subtypes (namely subtypes A and B), which were introduced to the country around the same time, had very dissimilar epidemiological histories due to social and cultural differences between the regions where these strains were initially introduced. Similarly, Ukraine and the neighbouring Russia chose opposite responses to the HIV epidemic, which resulted in very different trajectories for the two epidemics that shared the roots.

Today the HIV epidemic in Ukraine is one of the largest in Europe: the country has an estimated 240,000 people living with HIV and the highest rate of new infections in Europe (~30 cases per 100,000 people). The military conflict, which began in Ukraine following a political insurgency and the Maidan movement in late 2013, disrupted provision of health care and HIV preventive services. Notably, the conflict caused massive internal human migration: since 2014 over 1.7 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine, out of a total population of 45 million. Molecular epidemiology in combination with mathematical modeling and traditional epidemiological analysis was used to describe patterns of HIV spread in Ukraine before and after the conflict, and to show how the large-scale human migration have had an impact on epidemic dynamics within and among the regions of Ukraine.

Speaker Biography - Tetyana Vasylyeva

Tetyana Vasylyeva
Tetyana Vasylyeva Junior Research Fellow New College University of Oxford
Tetyana works on integrating epidemiology and molecular evolution methods (phylogenetics, phylodynamics, phylogeography) to define drivers of HIV epidemics and evaluate different preventive measures. Most of her research is focused on populations of people who inject drugs (PWID) and HIV transmissions in the generalising epidemics in Eastern Europe. She was also involved in research addressing the old HIV epidemic in PWID in New York State. Overall, she studies transmission patterns, both in time and space, and use behavioural and socio-economic factors to explain these patterns in present time and retrospectively.

Tetyana holds an MSc in Public Health from the Kyiv-Mohyla academy in Ukraine and an MSc in Epidemiology from the State University of New York at Albany (NY, USA), which was funded through a Fogarty grant. She spent a few years working as a research project coordinator and later project director, leading HIV preventive interventions in different vulnerable groups. She has recently completed her DPhil in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, and she now holds a Junior Research Fellowship with the New College, University of Oxford, UK.

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