No Basis for False Rumours about HIV Epidemic in Slavonia

Total Croatia News

The media recently reported about an unusually large number of HIV infections in Slavonski Brod area.

Croatian Institute for Public Health (HZJZ) denied media reports about a large number of new HIV infections in Slavonski Brod and Brod-Posavina County, and pointed out that there was no reason for panic or any particular concern about the issue, reports Večernji List on December 24, 2016.

Rumours spreading in Slavonski Brod about a large number of workers who have allegedly returned from construction sites in Africa infected with HIV are not true, since this year in Brod-Posavina County there have been just two recorded cases of HIV infections, which is similar to previous years, according to HZJZ.

According to their data, the cumulative incidence rate (the total number of cases registered so far in the population) for Brod-Posavina County is 177/1,000,000, which is significantly below the average for Croatia (308/1,000,000 inhabitants). From 1985 to October 2016, a total of 1,403 persons in Croatia have been diagnosed with HIV. Of these, there were 474 people who developed AIDS, and in the same period 202 people died as a consequence of AIDS.

In recent years, there are 90 newly-diagnosed cases of HIV a year in the whole of Croatia. With the rate of 21 per million inhabitants, Croatia is among countries with a low prevalence of HIV infection (the average for the EU in 2014 was 64 per million).

Preliminary data show that during this period there were 30 cases of HIV/AIDS in Brod-Posavina County, and this year, up to October, there were just two new cases of HIV infection and AIDS, which is at the last year’s level.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), African countries have the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS, with about 26 million new infections in 2015.

HZJZ points out that the risk of HIV infection increases in the cases of sexual intercourse with a person infected with HIV, with frequently changing sexual partners, not using protection during sexual intercourse with unknown or unfamiliar people, with buying or selling sexual services, sharing of needles and syringes and other equipment for injecting drugs. In reducing the risk of infection, they point out the importance of responsible sexual behaviour and use of protection.

In Croatia, there are ten centres for voluntary counselling and testing for HIV in eight towns, including Slavonski Brod, where people who have exposed themselves to the risk of an HIV infection can receive anonymous and free HIV tests, noted HZJZ.


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