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HIV/AIDS Cases Rising in Provincial Georgia

Eastern region records exponential growth in number of cases.
By IWPR contributor

Health experts in western Georgia are concerned about the increasing incidence of new HIV cases.

Recorded cases in Kutaisi, the administrative centre of Imereti region have spiraled from two ten years ago to 400 in 2011.

The head doctor at Kutaisi’s infectious diseases clinic, Nana Gongadze, says it is the exponential growth rate of infections that is most alarming.

“Patient numbers in 2010 equalled the totals for 2008 and 2009 put together, and the trend is upward this year, too,” she told IWPR. “The three- to fourfold rise in cases is very worrying”.

IWPR interviewed a patient at the clinic, Lamzira Chaladze, who contracted HIV via a blood transfusion. She was pregnant at the time, and the child is now a carrier as well. Chaladze won damages in a court case against the medical institution found to be negligent.

As HIV becomes more prevalent, Kutaisi’s Centre for Education, Development and Employment is talking to local young people both about how to prevent infection, and about the myths and stereotypes surrounding the virus.

This short film was produced by Georgian participants in an IWPR training programme in web-based video reporting in the Caucasus.

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