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12° Nicosia,
26 October, 2021
 
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A duty to protect our fellow citizens living with HIV/AIDS

Statement from the Minister of Health, Mr. Hatzipandelas

Newsroom / CNA

Mr. Hatzipandelas today welcomed the presentation of the results of the Pancyprian research on the psychological and social needs of people living with HIV / AIDS.  He said that, according to the results, the provision of AIDS related medical services in Cyprus are comparable with those of European countries, however, the stigma and prejudices towards HIV-positive people still exist, albeit to a lesser extent.  He made mention of recent incidents that had come to light and called for immediate action to end such phenomena.

"We all have a duty to protect our fellow citizens living with HIV / AIDS and to create an environment where they will feel safe and will allow them to live on an equal footing with others," said Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandelas.

Research showed that the percentage of people living with AIDS who had experienced problems related to anxiety or depression increased from 36% in 2007 to almost double at 63.6% in 2021.

The research was conducted by the University of Nicosia in collaboration with the Movement for Support for AIDS and the Gregorian Clinic for the period of December 2020 - May 2021.  It's goal was to identify the psychological and social needs of the community of HIV-positive people in Cyprus.

According the the results, there was a need  for improvement in the following areas: monthly allowance increase by 200-300 Euros; the enactment of legislation that protects their right to employment without compulsory HIV testing; the training of all health professionals in matters related to HIV / AIDS in all OKYPY services, including private medical centers; state funded upgrades for the Gregorio Clinic and the  modernization of its services, including the increase of doctors and qualified nursing staff; and, easier access to antiretroviral treatment at the Gregorio clinic for people living with HIV.

The research also focused on 19 areas of needs of people living with HIV / AIDS.  Some of these are housing, income, substance use assistance, stress and depression, love life and companionship, confidence, education, equal employment opportunities, relationships with doctors , relationships with family and friends, etc.

Research showed that the percentage of people living with AIDS who had experienced problems related to anxiety or depression  increased from 36% in 2007 to almost double at 63.6% in 2021.

If we compare the results to the current research (2021) with the same one conducted 14 years ago (2007), we find that the social stigma of people living with HIV / AIDS in Cyprus continues to exist on many levels.  Furthermore, it is still necessary to increase the number of doctors and nurses in the Gregorian Clinic, whose burden has doubled in the last decade.  The training of health professionals, both in the public and in the private sector, is a request of people living with HIV / AIDS, in order to minimize the social stigma recorded at the medical, institutional, professional, but also personal level.

The Minister assured that the Ministry of Health is intensifying its efforts to address and reduce HIV infection through the National Commission and noted that the operation of the Gregorian Clinic gave the opportunity to HIV-positive people to have free medical care and psychological support.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  AIDS  |  HIV  |  discrimination

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