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Latvia has to end treatment restrictions for HIV patients - UN representative
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    Latvia has to end treatment restrictions for HIV patients - UN representative

    RIGA, Sept 14 (LETA) - Latvia has to end treatment restrictions for HIV patients, Vinay Saldanha, Director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told reporters today.

    Due to the treatment restrictions, it is not surprising that treatment of HIV is inefficient in Latvia. The HIV epidemic is spreading in Latvia, while HIV rates in other countries and regions have been decreasing, said Saldanha.

    Latvia has been for a long time advised to offer people with HIV immediate assistance, however, it takes a long time for those infected to actually receive help. Only 38 percent of all people with HIV in Latvia receive medical treatment, which raises concerns whether Latvia will be able to attain the United Nations' goal to ensure that 83 percent of all those infected with HIV receive treatment by 2020.

    In order to achieve the UN goal, Latvia has to quickly improve its performance in HIV prevention and treatment, said Saldanha. He is nevertheless optimistic as, following a meeting with the Health Ministry's representatives today, he is confident that Latvia is ready to take action to improve the situation. However, Latvia has to act quickly, stressed Saldanha.

    During Saldanha's meeting with the Health Ministry's experts today, discussed were measures to reduce the number of new HIV cases. One of these is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is already available in several countries at the moment. Saldanha also urged Latvian government to develop closer cooperation with non-governmental organizations.

    According to Agihas, Latvian support group for people living with HIV/AIDS, there are 36.9 million people globally living with HIV, of which 75 percent know about their HIV status and 60 percent receive treatment. In Latvia, there are approximately 5,500 people living with HIV now, but only about 38 percent receive medical treatment.

    • Published: 14.09.2018 15:21
    • LETA
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