58% of HIV Cases Are Diagnosed at Late Stages in Ukraine, Sometimes in 4–6 Years; a Very High Level of Stigma — AHF Ukraine
Most cases of HIV infection in Ukraine are of advanced or very advanced stages. Yaroslava Lopatina, Country Program Director for AHF in Ukraine, spoke about why this happens during the briefing in Media Center Ukraine — Ukrinform.
“In Ukraine, the majority of HIV infection cases — 58% — are already in advanced or very advanced stages, this is what is called AIDS. People at the AIDS stage can be returned to a healthy state, a full-fledged life, but, unfortunately, not all of them,” the expert explained.
The study showed that there is a significant stigma of HIV infection in society and, in particular, among health professionals.
“We conducted the study in 8 regions of Ukraine, interviewed 22 people who were found to have an infection at a very advanced stage. All these people went to doctors. Of the 22 family doctors, only one offered HIV testing. They consulted other doctors, and no one offered HIV testing if they had very intense symptoms. It took several years, 4–5–6 years, before the diagnosis was established. On the one hand, people have no understanding that they may have HIV infection. On the other hand, there is no initiative on medical providers’ part. Doctors were either not interested, or, because of the stigma of infection, they were embarrassed to offer HIV testing to a “decent person”. A very high level of stigma exists,” Yaroslava Lopatina said.
Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news