HIV Infections and AIDS in Belarus
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"The mother-to-child HIV transmission rate in Belarus has decreased from 5.7% in 2005 to 4% currently, Mikhail Rymzha, the country's former chief sanitary officer, said Thursday during a news conference organized to present Belarus' national report on the implementation of the United Nation Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, BelaPAN reports.
According to official statistics, 1,144 infants were born to HIV-positive women between 1987 and May 1, 2008 -- 127 of whom tested positive for HIV. Rymzha said that a goal to reduce the rate of MTCT to 2% was prevented because of various factors, including the "social status of some HIV-[positive] pregnant women." At the conference, Rymzha also discussed the country's methadone substitution program, which aims to prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users. The program, launched in Homyel, currently serves 19 IDUs, but the number is expected to increase after a methadone distribution center opens in Minsk (Darashchonak, BelaPAN, 5/22). In addition, Rymzha said the number of people with access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs has increased to 1,000, compared with 15 people in 2004. He added that the average cost for antiretrovirals decreased by almost sixfold from between $10,000 and $15,000 per person annually in 2004 to between $600 and $2,500 per person currently. According to Rymzha, funding for the antiretroviral program partly comes from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
According to the National Center of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, 349 new HIV cases were recorded in the country in the first four months of this year. A total of 9,086 people were living with HIV/AIDS as of May 1 in the country, BelaPAN reports (Darashchonak , BelaPAN, 5/22). "
Source: Kaisernetwork.org from BelaPAN source, May 27, 2008
"As many as 362 HIV/AIDS patients have died in Belarus since 1987 but roughly one in three deaths is not connected with the deadly disease, Mikhail Rymzha, Belarus' chief sanitary officer, said at a session of the National Sanitary and Epidemiological Council in Minsk on March 2 , told BelaPAN.
Thirty-three percent of the patients died of AIDS and another third succumbed to HIV-related infections, mainly tuberculosis. However, more than 30 percent died of unrelated causes, including suicides, injuries and drug overdose.
As many as 7,747 people live with HIV in Belarus at present. HIV-infected women have given birth to 935 children, with 96 diagnosed as HIV positive. Seven of the children have already died.
Mr. Rymzha recalled that Belarus had received aid from Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to provide better treatment to HIV/AIDS patients and step up efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
In the framework of the project, the health authorities bought $1.17 million worth of equipment for clinics and spent $1.84 million on anti-retroviral drugs for people living with HIV.
More than 680 HIV patients currently receive treatment in Belarus, the expert said."
Source: Belorusskie Novosti, March 3, 2007
"On December 1 , the interuniversity festival 'Students are against Aids' will be held in the Belarus State University of Computer Science and Radioelectronics. According to the Gallup poll, about 95 percent of people realize the sharpness of the problem connected with HIV/Aids. Nevertheless, the behavior of the majority of them is rather risky. According to the statistics, about 80 percent of people who have HIV-infection are the youth."
Source: BelTA, November 26, 2001
"The center said that youths were the focus of the campaign as young people aged between 15 and 29 account for 85.5 percent of the reported HIV-cases in the country."
"The National AIDS Prevention Center has registered 436 HIV-infected people since the beginning of the year. There are 3,188 people on the center's HIV register at present. Since 1987, 108 HIV-infected people have reportedly died in Belarus. Eighteen of the 136 babies born to infected mothers have been tested positive."
Source: BelaPAN, No. 4; Friday, December 1, 2000; 5:50 p.m.
"In all, the region currently has 93 registered HIV-positive individuals, 69 percent of whom are males. Eighty-five percent got infected through drug abuse, 14 percent through sexual contacts, and one child inherited HIV from its parents. Out of the total number 7.5 percent are aged 15-19, 67.5 percent are aged 20-29, 23 percent are aged 30-39, and two percent are aged 40-44."
"There are 14 registered HIV cases in the city of Hrodna. The AIDS prevention center says, however, that the real number of HIV-infected in Hrodna must be no lower than in Lida, because only few of them get registered."
Source: BelaPAN, No. 60; Wednesday, June 14, 2000; 5:00 p.m.
"The point has been financed by the United Nations within the framework of its Prevention of HIV-Infection Among Injection Drug Users project."
Source: BelaPAN, No. 102; Thursday, February 24, 2000; 3:20 p.m.
News Article: International HIV/AIDS Prevention Seminar Opens in Minsk
"The purpose of the seminar, organized with the support of the UNAIDS program in Belarus, is to advance the knowledge of the UN staff at the country level on UNAIDS and HIV/STD prevention activities in Europe and motivate sponsors for greater involvement."
"Opening the seminar, Lev Khodakevich, head of the UNAIDS Department of Country Planning and Program Development for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, stressed that a fall in the number of newly registered HIV infection cases in Belarus in the last few years after an outbreak of the infection in 1995 and 1996 does not give grounds for relaxation. Unlike with cholera or diphtheria, the number of HIV-positive people is increasing even if the rate of infection is falling, Mr. Khodakevich said. "If last year 50 people were infected someplace, and this year the number of newly registered dropped to 30, one should not forget that 80 people carry the infection and will have AIDS some day," Mr. Khodakevich said."
"The Belarusian National AIDS Prevention Center registered 2,688 people infected with HIV in the country as of December 1, 1999. The UNAIDS representative said that one of the advantages in fighting AIDS in Belarus is that the virus began spreading in the region in the early 1990s, later than in many other parts of the world. Therefore, Belarus had an opportunity to use the other countries' experience in preventing the epidemic. At present, the UNAIDS sponsors are the World Health Organization, the UN Development Program, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank group, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the UN International Narcotic Drugs Control Program."
Source: BelaPAN, No. 52; Monday, January 17, 2000; 2:20 p.m.
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