20% jump in HIV infections in first six months

Official government figures showed there were almost 500 new cases in the first six months of this year.

By BOHEMIST STAFF

PRAGUE – The number of HIV-positive people registered in the Czech Republic increased from November 2015 to June 30 this year, officials reported to local media.

There were 484 new cases diagnosed in this period, a shock 20 percent increase from November 2015 figures, bucking the trend in most Western countries where new HIV infections are slowing.

The head of the National Reference Laboratory for HIV / AIDS (NRL HIV / AIDS) in the State Health Institute in Prague told Novinky.cz that HIV prevention measures were completely failing in the Czech Republic.

The vast majority – a little over 80 percent – of HIV-positive citizens were men, with doctors noticing an uptick in HIV infections among men who have sex with men. Most new cases were reported in Prague.

While Czech Republic still has statistically low HIV-positive numbers compared to its European neighbors, in the last five years, every time government data on new infections is released, there appears to be stunning sharp increases in the number of HIV-positive Czechs. In the first four months of 2014 there was on average one new HIV infection every work day.

A 2015 UNAIDS report noted the severe funding deficiencies in government allocations toward program focused on early prevention, testing and education.

Almost a third of overall HIV-positive people in the Czech Republic are reported as being immigrants, with a lack of immigrant education initiatives identified as one of the contributors to the sharply rising numbers of new infections.

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