HIV is a target this summer

A campaign to prevent the rise of HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, was unveiled yesterday by Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos as authorities expressed concern that people could let their guard down over the summer. The «Safe Summer 2006» campaign includes TV and radio advertisements and the distribution of leaflets at popular beaches and cultural events. Its aim is to prevent the spread of HIV but emphasis is also being put on encouraging people to protect themselves from the heat and sun. Starting this week, the ministry will work with the non-governmental organization ACT-UP to inform holidaymakers at a number of islands around Greece. Avramopoulos added that a national action plan to combat HIV would probably be ready in September. The action plan is likely to herald free HIV tests and efforts to educate the public about the disease. The number of new HIV cases in Greece rose by more than 23 percent last year compared to 2004. AIDS claimed the lives of 46 Greeks last year.