HIV Infection on the Rise in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A man diagnosed carrying the HIV virus has been registered in Armenia–and this new patient brings the number of registered cases of HIV infections to 67 in Armenia–reported director of the Center for AIDS Prevention of the Ministry of Health Lev Zohrabian.

He said that a drug addict applied to the Center with a request to be examined for HIV-infection. According to the Center–the individual became concerned after reading facts about HIV rates among intravenous drug users. He did confirm that he was an active intravenous user of narcotics.

It has been established that the visitor reentered Armenia after serving a prison sentence somewhere in the CIS–and all evidence indicate that the contraction of the virus–more than likely–took place outside of Armenia. In fact–the patient’s condition is now classified as full blown AIDS–the disease stemming from the HIV virus.

Because of the alarming rate at which AIDS has been spreading in Armenia–(for 1997-98 the number of HIV-infected cases has doubled compared to previous years) Zohrabian emphasized the need for adopting a national program as soon as possible.

According to him–if the program on treatment and prevention of AIDS acquires a state status–it will encourage the involvement of international sponsors for the solution to the problem.

Also–according to data obtained from the Center–there are 12 HIV-infected prisoners in Armenia. These data specify the Interior and National Security Minister Serj Sargssian’s statement made at his latest news conference that there are HIV-infected prisoners in places of confinement in Armenia. However–the real number of the HIV-infected prisoners is unknown–Zohrabian said.

When asked what measures are being taken for treating the prisoners–Zohrabian said that–unfortunately–the Center is only engaged in prevention and laboratory diagnostics. When–at a certain stage–an HIV-carrier starts showing signs of AIDS the patient can take a course of treatment in ordinary hospitals–as there are no specialized clinics in Armenia for treating AIDS. As for the prisons–patients are treated there in the medical establishmen’s which are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior.

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