About 1000 people living with HIV in Croatia

Dec 1, 2015

On the 1st December marked the World Aids Day

ZAGREB, 1 December 2015 - In Croatia, there are about 1,000 people living with HIV infection, of which about 250 people are affected by AIDS. Since 1985 when the first HIV cases were registered in Croatia, so far a total of 1300 persons are diagnosed with HIV infection, of which 220 patients have died, while 16 people this year, according to data from the Croatian Institute for Public Health published on the World AIDS Day which is celebrated annually on December 1.

AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a disease of the human immune system and is characterized by severe damage to the immune system due to which the body is left without protection from the harmful effects of the different systems. It is caused by HIV virus, which attacks the mature T4 - lymphocytes, the cells that are directly involved in an immune reaction against many diseases.

In Croatia, over the last few years an average of 80 new cases of HIV infection is recorded (almost three times less than the general rate for the EU/EEA), which puts Croatia among the countries with a low prevalence of HIV infection. The most common route of HIV transmission in Croatia is the unprotected sex (almost 90 percent of cases, of which in 60 percent of cases the homosexual intercourse is a way of transmission).

Core groups, with a higher risk of HIV infection in Croatia are men who are having sex with persons of the same or both sexes (59.8 percent of all cases of HIV/AIDS) and in a smaller proportion (5.6 percent) people who consumed drugs by using non-sterile equipment.

Early diagnosis a priority 

According to the World Health Organization and UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), last year there were about 37 million people living with HIV. The good news is that the global number of new HIV infections dropped by 35 percent compared to 2000, while the number of deaths from AIDS fell by 42 percent in comparison to 2005, when the highest number of deaths from this disease was detected. In 2014, the European Union has recorded 29,992 cases of HIV infection, with the general rate of 5.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. However, it is concerning that even 30 to 50 percent of people infected with HIV do not know that they are carriers of the virus.

„Early diagnosis of HIV infection is essential to ensure a successful treatment and maintenance of health and also for stopping the transmission of infection to others," explains Iva Jovović, national consultant for UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS in Croatia. „In Croatia, it takes several years from getting the HIV infection until getting diagnosed. All who wish to get tested can do that in public health institutes and at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević,“ adds Jovović.

Early detection of HIV and the fight against discrimination are objectives that the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) sets up in their „90-90-90" framework which aims that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, that 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and that 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.Recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 are putting an emphasis on HIV/AIDS and also to the preservation of sexual and reproductive health.