Setting: One hundred and forty non-governmental organisations implementing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention programmes among clients, including people who inject drugs, prisoners, female sex workers, men who have sex with men and street children in Ukraine, 2010–2011.
Objective: Among enrolled clients, to assess factors associated with HIV testing, HIV retesting within a year of initial testing and HIV seroconversion.
Design: Retrospective cohort study involving record reviews.
Results: Of 192 487 clients, 42 109 (22%) underwent an initial HIV test (22% were positive). Among HIV-negative clients at baseline, 10 858 (27%) were retested within a year: 317 (3%) of these were HIV-positive. HIV testing and retesting rates were lower among prisoners (0.3%) and others (street children and partners of those in risk groups, 6%), and those who did not receive counselling or services such as condom and needle distribution. Individuals who were not counselled were more likely to seroconvert.
Conclusions: In this large cohort of high-risk groups from Eastern Europe, HIV testing was low and HIV sero-conversion was high. This is of public health concern, bringing into question the overall quality of counselling and how well it is tailored to the specific needs of various risk groups. Qualitative studies to understand the reasons for non-testing are urgently required for designing client-specific interventions.