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New HIV cases decline in Greece

GREECE-ATHENS-NEW HIV CASES-DECLINE

A red ribbon for World AIDS Day is displayed at Polycliniki hospital in central Athens, Greece, on Dec. 1, 2017. Greek health authorities said on Friday that the number of new HIV cases recorded so far in 2017 is the lowest in the last years. (Xinhua/Lefteris Partsalis)

By Alexia Vlachou

ATHENS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Greek health authorities said on Friday that the number of new HIV cases recorded so far in 2017 is the lowest in the last years.

The data were presented by experts during a press conference on the occasion of the 29th Panhellenic AIDS Conference that runs from Dec. 1 until Dec. 3 but stressed that there is no room for complacency.

Over the past five years, HIV cases recorded in Greece appear to be on the way down returning to levels before 2010.

According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO), a total of 492 new diagnoses of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, were recorded from the start of 2017 to the end of October.

This means that the amount of infections is on course to be lower than in 2016, when a total of 639 cases were identified. A year earlier, in 2015, the number was at 769, while in 2013 it reached 890.

The peak, though, was in 2011 and 2013, when more than 1,000 people were infected by HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS.

"In Greece, following the major outbreak of HIV in intravenous drug users in the period of 2011-2013, over the last four years there has been a decline in new incidents, both in this group and as a whole," KEELPNO statement read.

Most of the new diagnoses refer to the age group of 30-39 years old and the main mode of transmission of the virus is through male sexual intercourse reaching a percentage of 45.93 percent.

While, for a 22.56 percent and another 13.41 percent of new cases the possible mode of infection reported was unprotected heterosexual intercourse and the use of intravenous drug, respectively.

The total number of HIV positive patients recorded in Greece since the 1990s has reached 16,527 people, including 4,083 who are now suffering from AIDS.

Over the past 25 years, a total of 2,746 AIDS-related deaths have been recorded in Greece.

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