HIV still a real threat in Poland: experts

Experts on the 4th Congress of Health Challenges in Katowice, southern Poland, pointed out that HIV virus causing AIDS is still a real threat in Poland.

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Participants of the event stressed that Poland lacks the education about the possibility of infection and the HIV tests are not conducted often enough.

They also emphasised that the situation in Poland on this matter is bad, mostly because of a large group of people who are not aware that they are infected, but also because of low social awareness, knowledge and initiative of doctors. The access to tests is also inadequate, according to the participants of the meeting.

On the other hand, they had no complaints about the treatment of people who have already been diagnosed with HIV.

Professor Magdalena Rosińska of the National Institute of the Public Health said that since the beginning of registering HIV infections in Poland, as many as 24,000 cases have been found.

“Especially at the beginning of epidemics many people died ... We estimate that around 19,000-20,000 infected people live in Poland, of which 75 percent have been diagnosed,” she said.

Ms Rosińska added that the number of positive diagnoses increases over recent years. In the mid-2000s around 600 new cases were registered each year, while in 2017 1,400 new infections were found. Data for 2018 is not yet known.

Magdalena Ankiersztejn-Bartczak, the head of Social Education Foundation said that another problem is the fact that only around 9 percent of people in Poland has ever made an HIV test. “In western countries, the average is around 80-90 percent,” she said.

HIV tests in Poland are anonymous and free-of-charge. There are special points where people who feel at risk to HIV can get their blood tested and talk with a specialist.