HIV infection rate rises among Dutch gay men

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Nearly 850 gay men in the Netherlands have been diagnosed with HIV in the past year. That number is higher than during the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, the Netherlands HIV Monitoring Foundation (SHM) reports.

SHM director Frank de Wolf says he is shocked by the new figures, which he believes show that HIV prevention is still a major issue. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people in the Netherlands are not aware they have been infected. Mr De Wolf argues that educational campaigns advising prevention through the use of condoms, changing risky behaviour and HIV testing should be directed primarily at this group.  

The total number of new infections registered between 1 June 2009 and 1 June 2010 was 1,200. A total of 13,000 people in the Netherlands are registered as having HIV, the virus which can lead to the onset of AIDS. That number has been increasing for years, partly because of the increased life expectancy of HIV-positive people, but also because of the recorded increase in the number of new infections.

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