YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Thirty-five new cases of HIV/AIDS were registered in Armenia from October 1–1999 to October 1–2000. The HIV-AIDS statistics for 2000 also include newly born children of infected parents and the first HIV-infected person from Karabakh. In all–134 cases were registered of which 14 patients died.
The data was presented by the director of the Republican AIDS Prevention Center– Samvel Grigorian at the November 28 seminar organized for journalists covering the subject. The seminar–which was held on the eve of AIDS Awareness Day marked by the UN on December 1–was organized by the Armenia office of the UNDP and UNAIDS.
Grigorian pointed out that the world community is aware of the threat of AIDS: Every day 15,000 people get infected–and 16.3 million people have died since 1981–when the infection was first discovered.
Accordng to Grigorian–the actual number of HIV and AIDS-infected people in Armenia exceeds the officially registered number: The results of the HIV/AIDS analysis indicate the number is close to 1,500. Data was obtained from the examination of the high-risk groups: intravenous drug users–prostitutes–prisoners–etc.. The demographics of sexual transmission of HIV in Armenia has changed during the last few years. Over 50% of cases of infection are intravenous drug users–most of which have sexual partners who are not drug addicts and do not use protection.
The number of HIV-infected people within the risk groups is believed to exceed 9%. Officials believe that AIDS prevention programs should be implemented not only within these groups–but among the entire population. In Armenia–this figure is not completely accurate especially in regards to drug addicts (14% of HIV cases). Most of the new cases are drug addicts.
A national strategic plan to combat the AIDS epidemic has been prepared based on the results of the new data–involving government–public–international and business spheres. The program is under discussion at the Ministry of Health.