Malta Gay Rights Movement and HIV Malta have spoken out against the lack of improvements at Malta’s GU Clinic, the country’s sexual health service, despite the Health Ministry’s promise to double personnel by September 2019.
“We find this to be an extremely serious issue. The unkept promises related to HIV and sexual health go back several years, from broken promises related to PrEP and new HIV medication, to, as we can see below, testing.” HIV Malta said.
Following an episode of Lovin Malta’s Kaxxaturi in July 2019, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne promised to double the headcount of staff at the GU Clinic to 10.
However, Lovin Malta found that half a year later, there are still just five full-time staffers at the GU clinic, including two doctors and a single clerk.
MGRM and HIV Malta have since taken to social media expressed their disappointment.
“As the world works hard to control the spread of a virus, and takes steps to make sure people are kept safe and healthy, as it should be, it is left to NGOs and volunteers to promote safe practices in order to stop the HIV pandemic which is now almost forty years old,” MRGM wrote in a Facebook post.
Sexual health organisation HIV Malta also heavily criticised the Ministry for Health’s claim that they were too busy handling the coronavirus to answer questions about the state of GU Clinic.
“Our thoughts go to those who lost their loved ones to HIV and heartbreakingly have to read the final statement in the below article, that the Ministry for Health is too busy handling the COVID-19 outbreak to answer questions about HIV,” they said.
At present, 5,684 people visit the GU Clinic per year. While the number is a significant improvement over previous years, it’s still far short of ideal when taking into the account the number of sexually active people in the country