Nearly 8.1 mln HIV-positive people don’t know their status. They are afraid to be tested, due to fears of being discriminated against and since HIV is stigmatized, Regional Advisor on Strategic Information at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Lev Zohrabyan said on Wednesday at a roundtable discussion at TASS.
Right now, according to UNAIDS, 8.1 mln HIV-positive people don't know their status. What is the problem? One of the problems why they don’t get tested is the fear of being stigmatized, and being discriminated against by the people around them and too often, unfortunately, by medical staff," Zohrabyan said.
He added that, as a result, "the virus is transmitted even further, the patient’s state gets worse and, naturally, it puts a heavy burden on the budget of a particular country. "The reason is that it is more economically effective to treat a patient early than in the final stages of the HIV infection," Zohrabyan added.
According to him, the new UNAIDS report clearly proves that in those three areas, where individuals and the community of people living with HIV, "are integrated in the process of decision-making and the provision of HIV-related services, the number of new cases of HIV drop and a large number of HIV-positive people can get access to treatment."
Davron Mukhamadiev, the regional health coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Europe and Central Asia stressed that the epidemiological situation in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia remains alarming. "If we note the global decline in the epidemic, with the countries of Western and Central Europe experiencing stabilization, then, unfortunately, the situation in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia remains urgent and requires attention," he said.
According to the expert, if, on the whole, in Europe "there are nearly 2 mln cases of HIV, then almost 80% are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and, of course, this can only raise alarm bells". "The combination of HIV-infection and tuberculosis further aggravates the situation, because HIV-positive people are 40 times more likely to come down with tuberculosis than the general population. And, of course, drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis emerge that require greater treatment efforts. Of course, for governments participating in the treatment and international organizations providing the treatment expenditures on such tuberculosis drugs are very high," Mukhamadiev added.
Source: Kazinform News Agency
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