Wednesday Jul 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
22o 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)  
Finance Minister, MPs to finalize overhaul of party funding laws
EU envoy sees clear progress on immigration, asylum
Coalition split over civil service evaluation scheme
Golden Dawn using legal tricks to delay trial
Number of firms filing for bankruptcy in Greece drops
The number of companies that filed for bankruptcy in Greece last year declined by 5.5 percent from 2012, according to ICAP Group data released on Tuesday by the Federation of Business Inform...
TAIPED finally finds suitors for Afandou properties
Following the third sale announcement, state privatization fund TAIPED has managed to find five candidate buyers for the two plots up for grabs at Afandou on Rhodes. The fund announced on Tu...
Inside Business
TRACK & FIELD
Athens, the Marathon capital of the world for good
Paco Borao, the man who restored Athens as the Marathon capital of the world with the establishment at the Olympic Sports Center of the headquarters of the International Association of Marat...
TRACK & FIELD
Pole vault record on same day as three doping cases
Greek track and field had a mixed weekend, as on the same day as Katerina Stefanidi matched the national record in pole vault as well as the leading result in Europe so far this season, thre...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Unequal after death
The dead are dead and the slain are slain, whether they are Malaysian, Dutch, Palestinian or Israeli, whether they are the innocent victims of a civilian plane that is shot down (we still do...
EDITORIAL
Chinese investment
The relationship between Greece and China has become one of major strategic importance. Beijing threw its support behind Athens during a period when the country was going through particularl...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Number of firms filing for bankruptcy in Greece drops
2. TAIPED finally finds suitors for Afandou properties
3. Traders say last weekend proved Sunday opening is pointless
4. Fight for ADMIE privatization ends
5. Strategy focuses on debt sustainability
6. Minor gains at the end of up-and-down bourse session
more news
Today
This Week
1. Unequal after death
2. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
3. Chinese investment
4. Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe's laggards
5. Shares in Greek renewable energy firm drop in trade debut
6. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
Today
This Week
1. Ex-Credit Suisse banker taps lesson for Greek rebound
2. The cost of excellence
3. Greece seen in third bailout as bonds not enough, economists say
4. Summer storms cause problems in Thessaloniki, spread across the country
5. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
6. Greek banks able to tap investors after stress tests, HFSF Says
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.