Czech Republic Records Increase in Number of People Living With HIV/AIDS
The number of HIV-positive people living in the Czech Republic increased by 122 last year, the highest increase in the country's HIV testing history, Miroslav Hlavaty, director of the House of Light HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre in Prague, said Thursday, CTK/Czech Happenings reports.
According to Marie Bruckova of the AIDS National Reference Laboratory, although the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country has increased, the number is lower than in other European countries. Bruckova said that an increasing number of HIV cases are being transmitted through injection drug use, adding that a growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis are migrating to the Czech Republic from countries in the former Soviet Union. According to Marie Stankova -- head of the AIDS Center at Bulovka Teaching Hospital, where all HIV-positive women who are aware of their status deliver infants -- four infants have been born with HIV at the hospital.
At the end of December 2007, the country had registered 1,042 HIV cases and more than 239 AIDS cases. However, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS could be 10 times higher because many people are unaware of their status and have not been tested, Hlavaty said. He added that in 2007 only a few people received voluntary HIV tests and that most had progressed to AIDS before being tested.
Government spending on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention has decreased annually from 67 million Czech crowns, or about $3.8 million, in 1996 to 20 million Czech crowns, or about $1.1 million, in 2007, CTK/Czech Happenings reports. Dzamila Stehlikova, Czech minister for human rights, said the government this year will allocate five times more funding to the fight against HIV/AIDS than in 2007. The increased funding will allow for a campaign aimed at increasing awareness and prevention of the disease to be launched in May, Stehlikova said (CTK/Czech Happenings, 1/24).