Inga Bulmistre receives a gratitude for a long-term work on detection of HIV infection

On December 1, 2017 within a frame of World AIDS day NGO “AGIHAS” organized Charity concert. During the concert Anda Čakša, Minister of Health on the Republic of Latvia rewarded with gratitude people working in the field of HIV / AIDS. Gratitude for the long-term work on detection of HIV infection received also a member of NGO “Baltic HIV Association”, employee at “Checkpoint” and The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control of Latvia – Inga Bulmistre.

Inga Bulmistre has been working in the field of HIV infection for more than 17 years. On 2010 she started her career in the AIDS field at AIDS Prevention Center. During these years, doctor’s assistant Inga Bulmistre continued to educate herself, shared her knowledge with colleagues and other specialists, helped to develop network of HIV prevention points in Latvia, participated in researches and supported hundreds of people in the hardest moment – when telling that they are HIV positive. At the moment Inga is an employee at The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control of Latvia and after the working hours takes part at Checkpoint.

”Inga works with more than 100% devotion, with a true empathy and love towards people and her work. She is very sincere, open, knowledgeable and ready to help whenever and whoever needs it. She is a great colleague!”, says Inga Upmace, Chairman of the Boeard of “Baltic HIV Association”.

Our warmest congratulations to Inga!

Final report and recommendations of study on innovative HIV testing methods among MSM

On September 28, 2017 final report and recommendations of KAB/P study on innovative HIV testing methods among men who have sex with men have been released.

In the both documents you may find – (1) final report of the KAB/P study on the implementation of innovative HIV testing strategies contains main results of a study conducted among MSM and stakeholders, and (2) recommendations  for the roll-out of innovative HIV testing strategies based on the results of a study conducted among MSM and stakeholders.

Both documents have been developed by the leaders of WP9 Task1 (Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid) of the Euro HIV EDAT Project with the participation of the working group.

You may find documents in the section “Guidelines / Recommendations” in our web page.

Almost every day – a new HIV patient is registered in Latvia

In the first half of 2017, 149 new HIV positive cases have been registered in Latvia which means that almost every day someone in Latvia receives positive HIV test response, according to the latest data of The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (hereinafter – CDPC) of Latvia. Comparing to the previous year, the number of new HIV cases has slightly decreased, but specialists still do not see it as a long-term positive trend and link the decrease to the testing activities and the decrease of the population in Latvia.

In the first half of the year there have been149 new HIV cases registered in Latvia which is slightly less than in the first half of 2016 (157 cases). There has also been a decrease in the number of new AIDS cases – 39 new cases registered in the first five months of 2017 (114 cases in 2016 in total).

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“The latest HIV and AIDS statistics are controversial: the number of new HIV cases is statistically decreasing, but it’s clear to professionals in this area that this does not mean a reduction in the number of infections in real life. We need to take into account both the declining population and still low level of testing activities which means more undiagnosed patients. And we also need to keep in mind Latvia’s negative tendency – delayed start of treatment which unfortunately creates a high potential for further spread of HIV infection”, says Inga Upmace, Chairman of the board of NGO” Baltic HIV Association”.

As of the end of last year several non-governmental organizations working in the field of HIV, including NGOs “Baltic HIV Association” and “AGIHAS”, actively informed society about HIV situation in Latvia and invited to make a HIV test at least once a year, as this is the only way to find out person’s HIV status. Responsiveness of the society was high and as a result there was 15% increase of HIV tests made in the 2015. Baltic HIV Association’s collected data from the two largest Latvian laboratories shows that the testing activity continues to grow also in the first half of 2017.

“Non-governmental organizations are constantly working in the HIV field, but we also are having high expectations for the State’s HIV / AIDS Action Plan for 2018-2020, developed by the Ministry of Health. It involves both – informative activities and early treatment for HIV patients which is very important step in reducing the infection”, says Inga Upmace.

According to the CDPC data, there is still a high level of registered HIV cases with unclear way of transmission. During the first four months of this year this number has reached to 32%. As to the identified HIV cases, the majority of them – 59 % – are sexually transmitted. This trend approves specialists’ warning – HIV patients have changed, they no longer represent a limited group of people; they may be anyone, including heterosexual people with good education, work and also family people. But there is also a positive tendency – transmission of HIV from mother to child has decreased significantly – only 1 case on this year (6 cases in 2016).

Sadly, Latvia holds 1st place in the European Union on the newly discovered HIV cases per 100 000 inhabitants, as well as 1st place in the EU on the newly discovered AIDS cases. Since the first HIV patient was registered in Latvia, a total of 7121 HIV positive person has been registered, 5368 of them are alive. But the World Health Organization estimates show that the true number of infected people in Latvia could be at least twice as high, thus around 10 thousand.

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