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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Economic crisis 'could spark rapid spread of HIV across Europe' - 16th Nov 2011

Experts have warned that the economic crisis could spark a 'rapid spread' of HIV infections across Europe.

Budget cuts have resulted in understaffing and hospital closures, while many patients say they are unable to afford medical treatment.

As a result an EU health agency has reported that the situation has triggered a growth in the number of drug-related HIV infections.

Greece, where hospitals had their budgets cut by 40 per cent, has witnessed a 52 per cent rise in the number of HIV infections among drug users.

While new infections were reported in Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania the European narcotics agency EMCDDA revealed in its annual report.

Wolfgang Gotz, director of the agency said: 'Across Europe drug services are under pressure, and HIV prevention is not always given the policy priority it once had.

'In some (EU) member states, we are witnessing an exceptional set of circumstances that create a perfect storm for causing the rapid spread of drug-related HIV infections within vulnerable communities.' Read More