1 December 2012
Since the very first HIV/AIDS infection in 1989, 140 HIV persons have been registered in Montenegro, what puts the country among those with the lowest HIV /AIDS prevalence. However, it is estimated that the real figure is five times higher than official statistics, according to the methodology recommended by the WHO.
The latest relevant data, along with achievements in the combating HIV/AIDS in Montenegro, were presented at the World AIDS Day press conference, organised by the Ministry of Health.
“During this year, 12 new HIV/AIDS cases have been registered”, said Alma Čičić from the Institute for Public Health of Montenegro. “Men make 84% of the total number infected, and the largest number of infections - 90%, was discovered at the so called labour and reproductive age - 15 to 49 years“, she said, highlighting that the most often mode of HIV transmission is through unsafe sexual contact – 87%.
Director of Institute for Public Health, Boban Mugoša stressed the importance of discovery of the infection in its early phase. “Early detection allows adequate treatment and thus increases chance for a patient to live long life. That is why I would encourage undertaking regular tests”, said Mugoša.
“Although we have achieved good results in suppressing HIV/AIDS trend, a high level of stigma and discrimination is still present, which causes a certain intimidation and low testing rate. Unless changed, this can also lead to a higher number of infected people”, warned Director of Institute for Public Health.
Mensud Grbovic, Assistant Minister of Health pointed out that the infective potential and social factors that can foster spread of disease present a warning for all and require more efforts to be invested, particularly when it comes to creation of supportive environment for people living with HIV.
Mina Brajovic, Head of WHO Country Office and Chair of the UN Theme Group for HIV said that Montenegro, unlike other neighbouring countries, has almost a 100% access to treatment to PLHIV.
“Thanks to continuous efforts in the implementation of prevention activities within the National response to HIV, Montenegro remains to be a country with a low HIV prevalence, which is less than 1%”, Brajovic pointed out. Commemorating all who “lost the battle” against AIDS, she stated that recent UN study signals significant advance in battling AIDS, but highlighted that number of challenges are still ahead. Brajović also reminded that providing support to response to HIV/AIDS remains one of priorities of the UN System in the country.
UN organizations in Montenegro during the 2012 fully contributed to the implementation of the National HIV response through coordination and management of the GFATM supported Round 9 programme “Scale up response to HIV/AIDS among most-at-risk populations in Montenegro” as well as through UNAIDS supported activities.
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Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) has been financially supporting implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in Montenegro since 2006 through Round 5 program“Support to Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in Montenegro” (2,424,124 EUR)successfully implemented in the period Aug 2006-July 2010 with UNDP as Primary Recipient of the funds (PR) and Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) as responsible national entity and owner of the program.
“Scale up response to HIV/AIDS among most-at-risk populations in Montenegro” programme,funded by GFATM within the Round 9 cycle builds up on the successes achieved and challenges faced during the implementation of the Montenegrin National HIV/AIDS Strategy 2005 – 2009.
First phase was implemented in the period July 2010-June 2012 with the budget of 2,332,012 EUR. The second phase will be implemented until July 2015, with the budget of 1,7 million EUR.