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International News
Number of New HIV Cases in Ireland Tripled Since 1999, Government Statistics Show

June 18, 2004

The number of new HIV infections in Ireland has tripled since 1999, according to National Disease Surveillance Centre figures released on Tuesday to coincide with the country's National AIDS Day, London's Daily Mirror reports. There were 399 newly reported HIV cases in Ireland in 2003 -- a 10% increase from the previous year -- and currently there are approximately 3,500 HIV-positive people living in Ireland, according to the statistics. About 60% of new cases in 2003 occurred among heterosexuals, and women accounted for 52% of new cases, according to the statistics. The average age of a newly diagnosed HIV-positive person is under 30 years, according to the statistics. Dr. Derek Freedman, who specializes in sexually transmitted diseases, said he is not surprised by the increases, according to the Mirror. "I saw more cases of HIV last year than I saw in the previous decade," Freedman said, adding, "It is rising, both in the homosexual and heterosexual population. And it is primarily the younger age groups who are testing positive." Freedman said that drug and alcohol use has led to risky sexual behavior among young people, according to the Mirror. Dublin AIDS Alliance Chief Ann Nolan said that HIV must be "part of our daily language ... if we are to stem the tide of HIV in Ireland and globally." The group, in conjunction with the advocacy group Concern, has launched "Positive Youth," a new informational video and educational program targeting young people in schools and youth groups throughout the country (McElgunn, Daily Mirror, 6/16).

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