Greece on the Breadline: HIV and Malaria Make a Comeback
March 16, 2012
Doctors Without Borders (DWB) is warning that extreme cuts to Greece's health budget have led to a spike in HIV/AIDS and malaria among some groups.
Reveka Papadopoulos, DWB's country chief, said HIV incidence among injecting drug users in central Athens increased by 1,250 percent in the first 10 months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. The rise is largely due to the suspension or cancelation of free needle-exchange programs, she said.
"We are also seeing transmission between mother and child for the first time in Greece. This is something we are used to seeing in sub-Saharan Africa, not Europe," 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," Papadopoulos added.
Following the cuts to the health services budget and a 40 percent reduction in funding for hospitals, Greece's social services are "under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown. What we are seeing are very clear indicators of a system that cannot cope," Papadopoulos said. DWB is responding by shifting its support from emergency interventions to those that address basic public health.
The Guardian (London)
03.16.2012; Jon Henley
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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