AIDS Continues to Spread in Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The number of people suffering from HIV or AIDS in Armenia continues to rise at an alarming rate and may have already reached 1800–a senior doctor said on Saturday.

In the words of Samvel Grigorian–head of the government Center for AIDS Prevention–the estimate is based on a survey among "risky groups" of the population conducted by his agency earlier this year. It is far higher than the official figure that keep count of only HIV carriers registered with medical authorities.

The survey–the first in its kind in Armenia–found that the highest incidence of the disease is among drug addicts–Grigorian told RFE/RL–adding that as many as 14 percent of them may be affected by it. He said prostitution is another serious factor contributing to the spread of AIDS.

The survey also found little awareness of the problem among most ordinary Armenia’s–few of whom bother to undergo medical check-ups. "Large segmen’s of the population were and are vulnerable to catching the disease," Grigorian said.

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