Staying Negative: Armenians offered free HIV tests as part of AIDS-free generation campaign

The number of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) increased during the last two years in Armenia, according to the latest data provided by specialists in the sphere. Experts call for frequent medical check-ups that will make it possible to diagnose possible HIV cases at early stages.

One can have a free and anonymous HIV test within the framework of the “AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) -free generation” events on November 24-28, in the square adjacent to 4 Northern Avenue.

“The first cases of HIV in Armenia were registered in 1988. Since then, until October 31, 2015 2,194 HIV positive cases were registered in Armenia, of whom 334 were recorded in 2014, which is higher compared to all previous years,” Marine Asryan, the head of the Department of Psychosocial Counseling of the National Center for AIDS Prevention, told media on Monday.

According to her, the majority of HIV cases are among men, 1,513 positive cases, while 681 cases are among women. There are also 41 cases of HIV among children.

“The highest number of HIV cases was reported in Yerevan and the Shirak province. A total of 1,140 people had AIDS when being diagnosed, of whom 172 in 2014,” she said.

According to experts, 52 percent of people with HIV are in the 25-30 age groups, while the main way of HIV transmission is through heterosexual relationship and through intravenous drug injections.

In recent years healthcare specialists in Armenia have also observed a relative increase in the number of HIV cases among married women whose husbands regularly go abroad for migrant work. Women from this risk group have lately been encouraged to regularly pass HIV tests.

“The event is a fast, free and anonymous HIV test in capital Yerevan. There will be a mobile diagnostic laboratory, consultants, and people will have an opportunity to receive high quality consultations and examination, if requested,” said Hovhannes Madoyan, the head of the Real World, Real People NGO.