The first online HIV test application was launched

Today the information campaign dedicated to the World AIDS Day “It concerns you! It concerns everyone!” with the slogan “Know Your HIV Status!” was launched in Moldova. The campaign aims to draw the public's attention to the importance and the need for testing, as half of the estimated number of people living with HIV are not aware of their status.

The novelty of this year's campaign is the launch of the on-line application “HIV-Testdeveloped for the first time in Moldova by AO “Positive Initiative”, which allows everyone to “pass the HIV test”. The application can be downloaded for free on the mobile device and, based on the answers to the predefined questions, the risk of HIV infection is measured, and it provides you the location of the closest test point / points.

"Our main commitment, recognizing the supreme value of life and keeping pace with modern technologies, is to step up our efforts and increase the efficiency of our activities. The on-line application "HIV-Test" responds to these requirements”, says Ruslan Poverga, Executive Director, A.O. “Positive Initiative”.

The results of the “Stigma Index” research conducted by people living with HIV were also presented during the event. According to the research, four out of ten people living with HIV, report experiences of discriminatory treatments in the last 12 months. Four out of ten people say their status has been disclosed to the third parties, most often the phenomenon happens in the health system, family or close community (friends or neighbours). Practically each questioned person self-stigmatizes, experiencing feelings of self-indulgence, shame, and underestimation. Also 6,6% of respondents recognized suicidal tendencies, and in unitary cases people reported they have lost their jobs or considerable income due to their status.

"Stigma and discrimination continue to be the biggest obstacle to accessing HIV services, including testing. Once being tested at HIV, the test provides us with the information we need to make informed, assumed and correct choices about our own health. Information and knowledge are power”, says Svetlana Plamadeala, Country Manager, UNAIDS Moldova.

This research has also measured the attitudes and experiences of people living with HIV, including in relation with the realization of fundamental rights –  life, health, education, work, etc. The research was carried out within the framework of the project “Joint Action to Strengthening Human Rights in the Transnistrian Region”, implemented by the UN agencies and 8 non-governmental organizations, with the financial support of the Swedish Embassy.

“Despite the efforts made by the Government, partners, civil society, we still have a society in which discrimination and stigmatization are present. Our common goal is to fight this phenomenon and explain to the whole society that: doing the HIV test, getting to know your HIV status and starting treatment if the test is positive means to protect yourself and those around you” emphasized Aliona Serbulenco, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection.

With the technical support of WHO and UNAIDS, in 2018, the HIV testing guidelines and national HIV treatment protocols, including rapid diagnostic tests, have been updated. “For the implementation of the new documents, eight regional trainings for managers of health care institutions and medical workers, laboratory specialists and NGO representatives were carried out, thus being implemented the latest HIV diagnostic practices in the Republic of Moldova” mentioned Stela Gheorghita, coordinator of emergency public health programs, WHO Office of the Republic of Moldova.

1 December marks the World AIDS Day. This year, the global community marks the 30-year progress in combating HIV. The worldwide UNAIDS message promotes the importance and need for HIV testing. From November 25 to December 10, 2018, in the Republic of Moldova, the social campaign “It concerns you! It concerns everyone!” with the slogan “Know Your HIV Status!” will be implemented.  Within the campaign, information and communication activities will be organized in all the country's districts, mass media and on-line media. Also, during this period, in the most of the country's localities public places with confidential, free, secure test conditions will be created for those who want to make an HIV test.

According to statistical data, on 01.01.2018 there were 11,829 registered cases of HIV infection since the start of the epidemic from 15,835 estimated. The prevalence of HIV infection is of 210.8 cases per 100 thousand population. The incidence of HIV infection was of 20.7 cases (2016-20.65) per 100 thousand population.  

In the period January – October 2018, 752 new HIV cases were confirmed. Most people living with HIV infection are of young, reproductive age and sexually active. The heterosexual transmission path predominates.

The campaign is organized by UNAIDS Moldova and A.O. “Positive Initiative”, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Moldova, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Interior Affaires; Ministry of Education, Culture and Research; General Inspectorate of Police; National Probation Inspectorate; National Administration of Penitentiaries, Hospital of Dermatology and Communicable Diseases. With the support of local and regional partners: financial support of the Public Institution “Coordination Unit, Implementation and Monitoring of Health Projects” (IP UCIMP DS) through the Global Fund grant, The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS Moldova) and UNICEF Moldova from the resources of the Swiss Agency for Development and Integration.