LGBTQI+ activist groups said they were disappointed with the lack of progress for HIV positive patients in Malta.
Following a series of parliamentary questions by PN spokesperson Claudette Buttigieg, it was found that around five people contract HIV in Malta every month.
Despite this and promises of the most advanced treatment for HIV (PrEP) for patients in March, Malta Gay Rights Movement and HIV Malta said answers related to the autoimmune disease were vague and fell short of the expectations of Malta’s position as the best in the world for LGBTQ+ rights.
“Whilst we have been aware of the relatively high rate of HIV transmission in Malta, we still see reluctance and foot-dragging in the long-promised PrEP trials, even though this preventive treatment reduces the risk of HIV by in excess of 99%,” they wrote.
The current HIV medication on the local market is said to be significantly outdated.
“It only proves that in the strides made in terms of equality, we have left many people behind.”
“Answers given with respect to the HIV pandemic were vague, and people living with HIV have yet again not been given a specific date by when they can expect to see any form of improvement in medication to replace the severely outdated treatment which they receive, often dating back to an approval date of 20 years ago and more.”
They also commented on the state of Malta’s understaffed and under-resourced sexual health clinic which stopped regular appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic and have not resumed despite the government declaring the war is over.
It was found that less than 2% of the population have visited the Mater Dei’s GU clinic last year.
“It is unsurprising that one of the first decisions made when the COVID-19 pandemic first started was to limit the services given by the GU Clinic, effectively bringing to a halt the services provided by the sole government-sponsored clinic that offers sexual health screening in Malta.”
“We found news articles celebrating a drop in HIV rates during this period, when little to no testing was being done, laughable.”
“The pandemic has proven that where there is a willingness to put the right resources towards addressing a health crisis, results are obtained. It is now the time to turn to HIV, the other pandemic in Malta which dates back from 1981, and resolve it once and for all.”