International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics
Sunday, 26.03.2017, 10:20
Number of new HIV cases in Latvia down in 2016
There was a downward trend also in new AIDS cases with 103 new AIDS cases registered in 2016, down by 30 from 2015.
However, experts believe that the reduction signals belated diagnosis and reflects the decrease in the number of total population in Latvia rather than the decline of the infection, said Inga Upmace, the board chairwoman of the Baltic HIV Association.
At the same time, the number of cases when babies got HIV from their mothers doubled last year to six from three in 2015, which is a great shame, Upmace said, stressing that the problem should be addressed urgently.
The number of HIV cases with unknown source of infection increased last year to 135 from 119 in 2015, but a representative of the Latvian Center of Infectious Diseases suggested that this might be due to reluctance of some HIV patients to admit homosexuality, extramarital sex or drug use. She said that the profile of a typical HIV-infected person had been changing lately and many of the patients were well-educated people with good jobs and high social status.
In most cases people got HIV through heterosexual contacts, and there have been fewer cases of infection through homosexual contacts or drug use. Out of the total of 365 new HIV patients registered in Latvia last year, 230 were men and 135 were women but the HIV incidence among women has increased.
According to the Baltic HIV Association, Latvia ranks second in the EU by the number of new HIV cases per 100,000 population and has the highest number of new AIDS cases.
Since 1986 when the first HIV-infected patient was registered in Latvia, the total number of HIV-positive patients has reached 6,972, of which 1,712 have died by now. But the World Health Organization has estimated that the actual number of HIV-infected people in Latvia may be at least twice as high as the official figure.