Since sexually transmitted infections may lead to problems with the reproduction abilities, the speaker said, even one case is too problematic for a country like Armenia.
“There is a recent increase in the number of patients with sexually transmitted infections. A sharp increase is observed in the number of patients with Chlamydia. However, such a change is determined, first of all, by the increasing number of specialized medical centers which test and indentify infection cases,” stated Hovhannes Hovhannisyan at the Media Center hosted press conference initiated by “We for Civil Equality” NGO on December 18.
With respect to HIV and STI patients, the speaker believes, various stereotypes prevent from detecting the precise level of epidemiology. “In our country people still think it shameful to go to a doctor. Often people go to Gyumri from Vanadzor to see a doctor there and vice versa so that no one could learn about their disease,” he said.
The STI risk groups in Armenia include, according to Hovhannisyan, migrants, as well as sex industry workers. “The spread of STI among prostitutes amounts to 60% which is a matter of concern,” he said.
Lesya Khmel, Regional Director of International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, said, “The recent UNAIDS global report defines that there is a 5 percent increase in STI spread in our region. 110 thousand new STI cases have been identified. The problem concerns not only the treatment but prevention as well. Prevention involves raising public awareness over the issue.”
The speaker added that the Global Fund will soon stop financing AIDS/HIV prevention medical institutions in the Eastern Partnership member states (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan). “The governments must assume the responsibility. There should be state support,” said Lesya Khmel.