March 16, 2012
"The savage cuts to Greece's health service budget have led to a sharp rise in HIV/AIDS and malaria in the beleaguered nation, said a leading aid organization on Thursday," the Guardian's "News Blog" reports. "The incidence of HIV/AIDS among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250 percent in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to" Reveka Papadopoulos, "the head of Medecins Sans Frontieres [MSF] Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since ... the 1970s," the blog notes.
"Papadopoulos said that following health service cuts, including heavy job losses and a 40 percent reduction in funding for hospitals, Greek social services were 'under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown,'" the blog writes. "MSF Greece said the extraordinary increase in HIV/AIDS among drug users was largely due to the suspension or cancellation of free needle-exchange programs," the blog notes, adding that Papadopoulos said, "'There has also been a sharp increase in cases of tuberculosis in the immigrant population, cases of Nile fever -- leading to 35 deaths in 2010 -- and the reappearance of endemic malaria in several parts of Greece'" (Henley, 3/15).
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