Greece has fewer new AIDS cases

For the third year running Greece remained well under the European Union average of new AIDS cases in 2002, the government said yesterday. Health Minister Costas Stefanis said the overall incidence in Greece was 37 new cases per million of population in 2002, compared to 65 per million on average in the 15-state union. «This does not – and must not – make us complacent,» he told a press conference ahead of Monday’s World AIDS Day. «It satisfies us to the degree that our policies are bearing positive results.» In the first six months of 2003, 25 new AIDS cases were reported in Greece (20 in men and five in women), while 243 people were diagnosed as HIV-positive, including two children from Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 6,521 people have been diagnosed as HIV-positive over the past 20 years in Greece, while 2,394 developed the disease, which destroys the immune system leaving sufferers without protection against infections. People aged 25-49 are most at risk from AIDS, doctors said, which is most often contracted through sexual intercourse (45.1 percent).