Ministry plan to curb AIDS

A new action plan heralded yesterday by Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos aims to boost awareness about AIDS, particularly among young people, and to curb new infections by 45 percent. The spread of AIDS in Greece has stabilized this year following a 25 percent increase in infections between 2002 and 2005. But new ministry figures show a worrying increase in new cases of AIDS infections among gay men and a steady rate of infection among the most vulnerable age groups: 30 to 34 for men, and 25 to 29 for women. The ministry aims to inform 95 percent of young people about the risks posed by the HIV virus and to ensure at least 70 percent of Greek adults have had AIDS tests by 2010. Complacency and ignorance pose the greatest threats, Avramopoulos said. The plan envisages annual public awareness campaigns, the establishment of an observatory to monitor the health of immigrants in Greece and the provision of free healthcare to AIDS victims who have no health cover. Lessons on AIDS will also be offered in high school.