Monday May 25, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Health officials tell Greece to act fast to control HIV

A spiralling outbreak of HIV in debt-stricken Greece could run out of control unless urgent action is taken, European health officials said on Friday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said infections with the AIDS-causing virus among drug users and other high-risk groups were rising fast, and that a failure to act would mean far higher costs in future.

ECDC director Marc Sprenger was in Athens on Friday visiting hospitals and needle exchanges. He said he would tell officials that free syringes and methadone programmes must be stepped up, and testing and treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus made available to all.

"Immediate concerted action is needed in order to curb and eventually stop the current outbreak, he told Reuters as the ECDC published a report on Greece's HIV problem.

Since 2009, recession in Greece has reduced economic output by a fifth and sent unemployment to a record high.

The healthcare system is under extreme pressure, making it harder for the poor, unemployed or homeless to get treatment.

The ECDC said it was unclear how much Greece's debt crisis is contributing to the HIV outbreak, but it was evidently having a significant social and health impact. There were fears in Athens that HIV treatment services have reached a ceiling because of a leap in case numbers in 2012.

While Greece has only 7.4 HIV infections per 100,000 people, compared to 10 per 100,000 in Britain or 27.3 in Estonia, rates have soared since 2011 in high-risk groups such as drug users.

From 2007 to 2010, there were only 10 to 15 cases a year of HIV infection in injecting drug users.

But during 2011, there were 256 such cases - or 27 percent of the total. Another 314 drug use HIV cases were reported between January and August 2012, bringing the total HIV cases for the year to August to 768.

Combination drugs can give patients with HIV near-normal life expectancy, but the drugs must be taken for life, and cost 10,000 to 22,000 euros a year.

"If a scale-up (in prevention and testing) is not achieved, it's likely that HIV transmission among people who inject drugs in Athens will continue and even accelerate - and could eventually spread, Sprenger said.

"The cost of prevention ... will be significantly less than the provision of treatment to those who become infected."

The ECDC said waiting times for methadone programmes in Athens were more than seven years in August 2010, and only around seven syringes a year were given to each drug user.

Efforts by authorities to address this have now brought waiting lists down below four years and increased the number of syringes to 15 a year in 2011 and an expected 45 in 2012, but this is well below the international standard of 200 needles.

Rates of other health problems such as depression and suicide have been rising in Greece, which is also battling the re-emergence of mosquito-borne diseases such West Nile Virus and malaria.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Friday November 30, 2012 (11:28)  
Asylum service short of staff after losing 30 ex-municipal policemen
Tourist dies in rockfall on beach in Crete
NDs Bakoyannis fears capital controls over long weekend
Varoufakis slams media over Riga Eurogroup reporting
Euro weakens on Greece as emerging stocks, Spanish bonds decline
The euro weakened after Greece told creditors to lower demands that are holding up bailout funds. Emerging-market stocks fell as speculation grew the U.S. was moving closer to raising intere...
Spanish shares fall after vote as Greek stocks drop second day
Equity markets in Spain and Greece fell, while European stocks were little changed as holidays across the region curbed trading volume. The IBEX 35 Index dropped 1.5 percent as local Spanis...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Berg brace gives Panathinaikos four-point lead
Panathinaikos beat Atromitos on Sunday and took advantage of the goalless draw between PAOK and Asteras Tripolis to open a four-point gap from PAOK at the top of the Super League play-off mi...
SOCCER
Reds add Cup to league trophy with 3-1 win over Xanthi
Olympiakos completed a league-and-cup double on Saturday by beating Xanthi 3-1 in the Greek Cup final at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, that was more balanced than the final score suggests. ...
Inside Sports
Greece needs a second election
Most scenarios facing Greece are bleak. The country could default, introduce capital controls, forcibly convert savers deposits into bank capital, quit the euro and so forth. But there is s...
COMMENTARY
No more quick and dirty fixes for Greece
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde correctly said last week that the protracted negotiations between Greece and its official creditors required a comprehensive ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Euro weakens on Greece as emerging stocks, Spanish bonds decline
2. Asylum service short of staff after losing 30 ex-municipal policemen
3. Spanish shares fall after vote as Greek stocks drop second day
4. Brussels Group talks to resume Tuesday with VAT, pension topping agenda
5. Tourist dies in rockfall on beach in Crete
6. NDs Bakoyannis fears capital controls over long weekend
more news
Today
This Week
1. No more 'quick and dirty' fixes for Greece
2. Greece calls on creditors to compromise as IMF payment nears
3. ND's Bakoyannis fears capital controls over long weekend
4. Brussels Group talks to resume Tuesday with VAT, pension topping agenda
5. Tourist dies in rockfall on beach in Crete
6. Greece needs a second election
Today
This Week
1. The Greek-German breakthrough that didnt come
2. Conspiracy madness
3. Greece came close to not paying IMF
4. National self-awareness put to the test
5. Albanian demarche raises concerns about possible territorial claims over Greece
6. Greek endgame nears for Tsipras as bank collateral hits buffers
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.