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VIH i SIDA

Potser es parla de COVID, però la sida està colpejant amb força l'Europa de l'Est

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According to UNAIDS, 140,000 HIV infections were recorded in Eastern Euro and Central Asia in 2020, down from 170,000 in 2019. Far from indicating a change in trend, this decline reflects a “brutal” drop in detection, the UN agency stated, escriu Cristian Gherasim, corresponsal de Bucarest.

Per exemple, Romania, un país de més de 19 milions de persones amb uns 17,000 pacients seropositius, va veure una caiguda d'un terç de les proves l'any passat.

So did neighboring Bulgaria. “The regional health centers have been overtaken by the detection of covid-19 and have hardly done any anti-HIV tests,” laments Alexander Milanov of the Bulgarian National Patients’ Organization.

“The pandemic has added additional challenges to the stigma of HIV-positive people in many countries,” said Davron Mukhamadiev, the European coordinator of the Red Cross (IFRC).

A causa del tancament d'hospitals per a pacients diferents dels amb covid-19 i restriccions de viatge, s'ha restringit l'accés als serveis de cribratge i diagnòstic.

The pandemic has also complicated patients’ access to medicines, Mukhamadiev points out.

Tots els ulls estan posats en el Covid-19, i la lluita contra el VIH s'està alentint i la sida continua causant danys a Europa de l'Est.

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Fins i tot abans de l'actual crisi sanitària, l'antic bloc comunista es trobava entre les regions més afectades. L'any 2019, el 76% dels casos de sida diagnosticats al vell continent es van registrar a la seva part oriental, segons el Centre Europeu de Prevenció i Control de Malalties (ECDC).

Approximately 11,000 children born in the 1980s, in the pronatalist regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu, were contaminated by using unsterilized syringes in hospitals or orphanages. AIDS was then considered in the communist world as an evil that affected only the “depraved West”.

Les ONG romaneses que intenten fer més suportable la vida dels pacients seropositius, ja que l'estat ho fa cada cop menys, diuen que hi ha hagut temps difícils abans però mai com aquest.

Alina Dumitriu, the director of the NGO Sens Positiv, experienced several periods of drug shortages, but she believed that those times were over, but apparently it has only got worse. The new therapies prolong life, but “these patients always live with a visceral fear, not knowing if they will have medication tomorrow”, Dumitriu expressed her disbelief that things will improve anytime soon.

Romania’s health care, consistently ranked as the EU’s worst according to the Euro Health Consumer Index, finds itself unable to cope with the spread of the virus. Romania spends less on its medical system than any other EU country, as Eurostat ranks it last with only €400 healthcare expenditure per inhabitant, way behind top performers such as Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark, each with over €5,000 health expenditure per inhabitant each year.

Things have only gotten worse during the pandemic as even the small resources poured into Romania’s ailing healthcare system went all into fighting COVID. To put even more pressure on the system, Romania has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe. The health-care system is overwhelmed, with almost no ICU beds left, and long waiting times for Covid-testing and results. Romania’s medical care has been consistently ranked EU’s worst and most under-financed.

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