the beginning of last year, when a child was infected
with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) from donated
blood and died in a short period of time, for
the first time Armenian society realized that
the real danger of HIV/AIDS is not far away and
that the number of virus carriers is not small
According to estimates through last year there
were up to 2,200 HIV carriers in the republic.
However specialists are sure the real number exceeds
"In Armenia infection is mainly transmitted
as a result of drug usage by means of injections
and by unsafe sexual relations," says director
of the Ministry of Healthcare's Republican Center
of AIDS Prevention Samvel Grigoryan. "From
year to year the number of infected people is
increasing. In 2002 the highest index of infected
people was reported in Armenia comparing to other
Events during last weekend's International AIDS
Awareness Day were reminders that Armenia has
joined the world's countries who cannot escape
the disease's influence.
"In our case it's very wrong to conduct
an 'ostrich' policy," says head of the National
Assembly's Permanent Council on Nature Protection
and Healthcare Gagik Tadevosyan, "the reality
shows that the disease's rates are increasing
more and more here. No doubt it's a pity, but
such situation is a result of mass external works,
migration as well as lack of information and the
imperfection of the legal frame work, that we
are going to improve next year."
Tadevosyan says that a special commission created
last year will soon present a proposal to the
National Assembly that will lead to solutions
left unsolved by an incomplete law adopted in
1997 to address the AIDS problem.
are a lot of flaws to fix in this field,"
says Tadevosyan, "and the first step taken
will be to pay greater attention to this problem.
That is why we have presented a tenet in our portfolio
of suggestions, according to which we demand 55
million drams (about $100,000) to be allotted
in a special line of the budget for preventing
HIV and AIDS. No doubt after the adopting of the
suggestion by the government the international
companies, seeing our approach to this question,
will also present financial aid which will help
to find solution to many problems."
Specialists say the money would be spent on a
comprehensive project for the prevention of HIV
"Such measures will be very important not
only for the capital but for the region as well,"
says Roma Sargsyan, MD. "I am from Syunik
region and in our region as well as in the others
this illness has become a problem long ago due
to the migrating workers. Thanks to the project
the patients will have a chance to get better
support and the others will gain knowledge and
will learn how to avoid such problems."
According to Tadevosyan a wide-spread educational
program will be part of the project, including
sex education classes beginning in the ninth form.
"Systems will be created, laboratories with
preventive aims, that will guard the situation
in the republic," he says. "In short,
all that is necessary for avoiding the illness
in all the possible ways, having healthy children,
future and lifestyle."