HIV on the rise in Germany

Oct. 6, 2005 at 11:20 AM
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BERLIN, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- HIV/AIDS infections are on a dramatic rise in Germany, a new study has found.

The number of HIV infections jumped to 1,164, a rise of 20 percent compared to a year ago, the Robert-Koch-Institute, Germany's leading federal control center dealing with infectious diseases, said Wednesday.

The institute sees the increase as a worrying sign Germans are taking HIV/AIDS less seriously. The growing risk to acquire HIV is accompanied by "a tendency to have unprotected sexual contacts with new and unknown partners," the institute said.

"We need to do more to inform and warn that while there are improved therapeutic means available, there is no cure for the disease," Reinhard Knuth, head of the institute, said in a statement.

The institute said gay males accounted for nearly 60 percent of the new HIV infections, and the risk for their group to become infected with the virus that destroys the human immune system is at its highest in the last 12 years.

Large cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt have the highest infection rates, the institute said.

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