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Experts shocked about HIV patients reluctance to undergo treatment

May 07, 2018

The number of HIV patients that underwent treatment in Q1 2018 did not change in Latvia even though a considerable amount of funding was allocated from the state budget for HIV/AIDS treatment in 2018. This creates concerns about HIV patients’ use of healthcare services, according to Association HIV.LV.

Because of that, non-governmental organization working in HIV/AIDS sector in Latvia plan to send a joint letter to Healthcare Minister Anda Čakša and Saeima’s Public Health sub-committee’s chairman Romualds Ražuks, asking them to pay more attention to this problem and search for the best solutions to provide healthcare accessibility to more HIV patients.

«Because commencement of HIV treatment is in the competence of RAKUS day care Latvian Infectology Centre, it is necessary to boost the capacity to meet the growing number of patients. In 2017, there were 6,031 HIV/AIDS patients in Latvia. Only 35% of them or 2,104 people received anti-retroviral treatment. It is important to ease access to this healthcare service to those patients, because they have to wait in long queues for weeks right now,» the association notes.

HIV.LV chairman Aleksandrs Molokovskis says: «Latvia is first among EU member states HIV infection-wise. UNAIDS programme already informally shows us that the situation with HIV/AIDS treatment is awful. 100 people infected with HIV can infect 12 people over the course of a single year. If we can only treat 35% of patients, it is not hard to calculate the scope of this infection’s spread.»

«The weak patient attraction results worry us greatly. We see two major risks coming from this: the planned number of new patients is not being reached and this could mean HIV/AIDS treatment funding could be reduced next year based on this year’s patient treatment numbers. This means registration of new HIV infection cases in Latvia will continue,» says Baltic HIV association’s chairperson Inga Upmace.

AGIHAS chairman Andris Veiķenieks adds: «UNAIDS goal 90-90-90 provides for halting HIV epidemic by 2020, making sure 90% of infected people are aware of their status, 90% of them are provided with treatment and that treatment is effective for 90% of them. Unfortunately, indexes are far from the global ones in Latvia! We are open for a dialogue and cooperation to ensure effective treatment for HIV patients and reduce the spread of HIV in Latvia».

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