Friday October 31, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
13o 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)  
Traffic accidents rise 1.3 pct in August, year-on-year
New defense minister to be appointed without reshuffle
Man shot dead, woman injured in Vathis square attack
A year after GD members shot dead, police have no leads
Germany’s 10-year bonds decline before euro-area inflation data
Germany’s government bonds fell before a report economists said will show the euro-area inflation rate stayed near a five-year low this month. Price gains that have been less than the Europe...
Cyprus’s Georgiades Bets on Economy for Irish-Style Bailout Exit
Cyprus could benefit from strong bank stress test results and positive economic signs to pull off an Irish-style bailout exit and make a full return to the bond market, Finance Minister Harr...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Obradovic watches Greens thrash his Fenerbahce
The second homecoming of former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic, now at Fenerbahce, was not as emotional as last year’s, but it was certainly was the night of an emphatic triumph for th...
SOCCER
Berg returns to add spice to Panathinaikos´s Cup win
The second round of games for the group stage of the Greek Cup produced plenty of interesting games and results in midweek, but it still lags the upset potential that the knock-out stages of...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
The judiciary’s responsibility
The reform efforts over the past few years have begun to bear fruit. Greece has improved its standing in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings, rising 48 positions from 2010 to 61st place...
EDITORIAL
Findings raise eyebrows
An investigation into money transferred to foreign banks by civil servants since 2010, when Greece’s brutal debt crisis erupted, has come up with some striking findings. The checks, which we...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Traffic accidents rise 1.3 pct in August, year-on-year
2. New defense minister to be appointed without reshuffle
3. Germany’s 10-year bonds decline before euro-area inflation data
4. Cyprus’s Georgiades Bets on Economy for Irish-Style Bailout Exit
5. Man shot dead, woman injured in Vathis square attack
6. Obradovic watches Greens thrash his Fenerbahce
more news
Today
This Week
1. Man shot dead, woman injured in Vathis square attack
2. Germany’s 10-year bonds decline before euro-area inflation data
3. Cyprus’s Georgiades Bets on Economy for Irish-Style Bailout Exit
4. New defense minister to be appointed without reshuffle
5. Greek euro dilemma is back as minister predicts volatility
6. Students hijack university senate meeting
Today
This Week
1. Austria’s creative bookkeeping beats Greece on secret debts
2. End of reason, end of humanity
3. Clean bill of health for Greek banks from stress tests
4. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
5. Eurobank, National Bank restructurings eliminate capital gap
6. Athens flood damage assessed, compensation payments to begin
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.