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Romania: AIDS time bomb. The authorities are struggling to deal with rising levels of HIV infection.
London, England, Institute for War and Peace Reporting [IWPR], 2003 Oct 31. 4 p. (Balkan Crisis Report No. 466)A combination of fear, ignorance and poor health care is threatening to spark an AIDS epidemic in Romania. The ministry of health and family last year estimated that more than 12,500 people were either HIV-positive or living with full-blown AIDS - the majority of them young people. While the health care system has improved over the last decade, it remains in need of reforms and investment - public expenditure on health is the lowest in the region. Aware of the looming threat of an epidemic, the Bucharest authorities have declared prevention and treatment a priority. They launched an Action Plan for Universal Access to HIV/AIDS Treatment in 2001 as part of a UN initiative to combat the virus, allocating 25 US million dollars for the project. (excerpt)
[Unpublished] 2001 Dec 2 p.In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a rapid increase of HIV infections occurs due to unsafe drug-injecting practices. Statistics from the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reveal an estimated 250,000 new infections in 2001, bringing to 1 million the number of people living with HIV in the region. According to experts, the causes and consequences of the epidemic in the region are interwoven with other development challenges, including widespread unemployment, economic uncertainty, migration, gender inequity, and the steady collapse of public health services. However, with the epidemic still at a relatively early stage in the region, massive prevention efforts to reduce needle sharing among injecting drug users and to discourage risky sexual behavior among young people could rein in the epidemic. UNAIDS states the region also needs to employ vigorous prevention efforts to provide young people with such services as HIV information, condoms, and life-skill training. Hence, special steps are needed to include HIV-related information in school curricula and to extend peer education to young people who are out of school and without employment.