Vera Brezhneva, who has recently been appointed UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, has visited Armenia with VinaySaldanha, the director of the UNAIDS Eastern Europe and Central Asia regional office.
They have met the Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia, visited National Center for AIDS Prevention as well as participated in the seminar “The integration of human rights in national programs for HIV prevention in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” organized by UNAIDS in Yerevan.
Vera Brezhneva has focused her attention on Armenian HIV-positive women.
“I’m glad to visit Yerevan, this time with a different role. I had an opportunity to meet HIV-positive women. I wish that the public stop treating them with prejudice so that they could ask for help. And help should be provided timely and properly. HIV infection shouldn’t deprive them of full and happy life,” said Vera Brezhneva. She called on women to test for HIV periodically and encourage their partners to do the same as well.
As UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Vera Brezhneva will participate in programs for HIV awareness and prevention focusing on women affected by HIV infection. She will also focus on eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission to ensure an HIV-free new generation as well as promote tolerant attitude towards HIV-positive people.
“Armenia should be the first among the CIS countries that will be able to stop the HIV epidemic by 2020,” – stressed VinaySaldanha, the Director of Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia VahanPoghosyan expressed his gratitude to the Regional Director of UNAIDS and the Goodwill Ambassador for their visit to Armenia as well as to the other international partners who support the national programme on HIV/AIDS. “We commit ourselves to the realization of all initiatives that are directed to the fight against this disease,” stated the Deputy Minister of Health.
According to the UNAIDS an estimate of more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This year this number increased with 110.000.
The first cases of HIV in Armenia have been recorded in 1988. 1906 cases of HIV have been identified among RA citizens from 1988 to October 31, 2014. About 75 percent of cases recorded in 2012-2013 are related to migration. The HIV/AIDS estimation shows that in Armenia the approximate number of people with HIV infection is 3700.