SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of people living in South Korea that have tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have drastically fallen since the coronavirus outbreak, primarily due to the suspension of HIV-exclusive testing programs and anonymous examinations at most public health clinics, a report said Sunday.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported that there were 975 new HIV cases last year, which was 4 percent less than in 2020 and 20.3 percent less than in 2019.
Sorted by agency type, 712 cases were reported at private hospitals and medical clinics, which was 2.6 percent less than in 2020 and 5.4 percent less than in 2019.
Another 152 cases were reported at public health clinics, which was 5.4 percent less than in 2020 and 57.2 percent less than in 2019.
The remaining 106 cases were reported through other agencies, around 10 percent less than in 2020, primarily due to the shrinking number of blood donors and people subject to health checks prior to mandatory enlistment.
This indicates the possibility that the suspension of HIV examinations at public health clinics following the pandemic has prevented HIV cases from being reported.
“The pandemic has created an unstable environment for HIV patients, obstructing medical treatment of HIV and exacerbating the symptoms,” the report said.
ILina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)