Emergency support fund for Ukraine and CEECA region

The Emergency Fund provides uninterrupted services and safety for people living with and vulnerable to HIV in times of war and disruption in Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region, including Ukraine. The region has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world.

The Fund focuses on the urgent unmet needs of key populations, builds the capacity and sustainability of the community systems response, and addresses the scarcity and fragmentation of international funding for key populations. It provides small, middle and larger grants to local community-led and community-based organisations, who provide low-threshold, fast-paced, client-oriented aid to the people around them.

Cooperation is at the core of our work: Aidsfonds has formed a partnership with Eurasion Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity (ECOM) and Alliance for Public Health (APH) on the establishment of this Emergency Fund.

Time frame

1 January 2022 – 30 December 2025


Children, LGBTIQ+ people, People living with HIV, People who use drugs, Sex workers, Young people


€ 5,500,000


Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan


thousand new HIV infections in 2021

51 %

people living with HIV were on treatment in 2021

46 %

increase in AIDS-related deaths since 2010

Putting communities at the heart of the HIV response

We know that directly supporting communities that are at the highest risk of infection is the most effective approach in the response to HIV. They know best what they need to remove the barriers to prevention and treatment.

Through the participatory grantmaking model, in-country and regional experts determine which key population-led or key population-based organisations in the region receive funding for their activities. That’s why in 2023 we proudly transferred grantmaking responsibilities to two community-based organisations in the region (ECOM and APH). Together with them, we set up a participatory grantmaking model, whereby communities decide on the distribution of grants themselves. With the model, we follow the belief that, now more than ever, communities in the region should be at the steering wheel of the decisions on HIV programming and support.

We make a minimum of €500.000 per year available to key population-led and key population-based organisations to ensure:

  • Access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and adherence services for key populations
  • Reduced inequalities, including stigma, discrimination and criminalisation, that hinder an effective HIV response
  • Community systems strengthening, that allows for increased access to finance, building or joining coalitions and contribution to the overall HIV response system strengthening.
Achievements in 2023


109 small grants up to 5000 euros were provided to 61 community-led organisations and initiative groups in Ukraine, demonstrating their leadership qualities in quick response to the urgent needs of key populations. The grants covered various needs, such as food, medicine, hygiene products, access to treatment, psychological counselling, employment counselling, etc.

As a result, a total of 42,214 people had access to services provided by communities to communities. Among them were representatives of people who inject drugs, sex workers, LGBTIQ people, OST clients, (former) prisoners, people living with HIV and other communities affected by HIV.

APH facilitated knowledge exchange between the representatives of key populations and collaborated with key population-friendly organisations. Because of this, some of newly registered initiative groups managed to reach out to a larger number of people in need of services and were able to apply for other funding opportunities which shows the sustainability of applied approach.


28 applications from 10 CEECA countries were approved following two calls for proposals by ECOM to support community-led organisations and groups serving key populations vulnerable to HIV. The calls focused on self-organisation of migration communities; countering repressive laws; eliminating political barriers for migrants with HIV; and providing services to key populations in migration. Two applications each from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Romania and Slovakia; three applications each from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania and Poland; and eight applications from Georgia were approved.

Accordingly, over 3,800 individuals from key populations received services, with over 6,000 consultations from a range of specialists on health and social issues (52%); mental health consultations (39%); and legal consultations (9%). Temporary residence, food aid, employment support, and medical assistance were also provided.

ECOM’s evacuation program provided assistance to three individuals from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia who faced threats to their personal lives due to the shrinking civil society space. They have successfully relocated and are currently in a safe environment.

Participatory grantmaking in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

In this video, we explain the importance of participatory grantmaking and what Aidsfonds has been doing to enable tailored responses for community-led organisations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

With support from

The Emergency Support Fund for Ukraine and Neighbouring Countries (ESFU) is supported by a grant from Gilead. The grant is part of Gilead’s Zeroing In program that aims to help reduce health disparities, improve access to quality healthcare, advance medical education and support local communities most impacted by the HIV epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. We are thankful for Gilead’s unwavering support for the ESFU.

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Partner with us!

Aidsfonds is interested in working together to further strengthen community leadership, increase HIV prevention choices, and improve treatment outcomes and quality of life of people living with or exposed to HIV. We want to talk to anyone who shares our dream and wants to join us on a journey toward a world free of AIDS.

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