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Slovakia struggles with increase in HIV cases

THE NUMBER of HIV patients is increasing throughout Europe, including Slovakia.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: AP/TASR)

There were 142,000 patients with this diagnoses in 2014, which is the most since the 1980s when monitoring of the disease was launched. The worst situation is in the eastern European region.

Though Slovakia belongs to those EU countries with the fewest cases of HIV infection, the number of patients keeps growing.

“While in 2012 the number of newly diagnosed patients was 50, in 2014 there were 84 new cases,” said Darina Sedláková, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Slovakia, on the occasion of the World AIDS Day which falls on December 1, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Together 777 cases of HIV infections have been reported since Slovakia started to monitor the disease in 1985, Sedláková added.

Thanks to the HIV/AIDS treatment, which has progressed in recent years, the character of this illness has changed from fatal to chronic. The quality of life of patients who undergo treatment is good and they can live for a long time. The treatment does not burden the organism and the risk of spreading the disease is lower if patients take their medication.

What remains problematic is the negative perception of the disease by the public who are not very well informed about it. The stigmatisation concerns the patients more than the infection itself as these patients are discriminated against in their work, in society and also in the health-care sector when they, for example, want to go to the dentist, as reported by TASR.

The House of Light civic association tries to remove the stigmatisation of HIV positive people.

“Though the current treatment allows them to have a good quality of life, it cannot protect them from human stupidity,” Miloš Štefančík of the House of Light told TASR, adding that the fear often distracts people from undergoing the HIV tests.

Experts also pointed to the lack of awareness among pupils and students at schools, as well as among the public, as reported by TASR.

Topic: Health care


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