Heterosexual Irish Are Victims of HIV Crisis
May 30, 2002
Ireland is heading for an HIV crisis among heterosexual men and women, National Disease Surveillance Centre (NDSC) figures revealed Tuesday. New HIV cases rose by 299 last year, bringing the total to 2,645. An additional 12 people were diagnosed with AIDS, and three people died from the disease in 2001. More than twice as many heterosexuals as gay men contracted HIV, with unsafe sex being blamed for the increase.Adapted from:
Public health specialist Dr. Mary Cronin of the NDSC said alcohol abuse is a major factor in the upsurge. "It causes uninhibited behavior and safe sex is often the last thing on people's minds," she said.
"The number of HIV cases among heterosexuals has increased each year since 1994. Over the same period, the rates of other [STDs have] also increased. We urge everyone engaging in sexual activity, particularly with a new or casual partner, to use a condom correctly to protect themselves," said Cronin.
In the last half of last year, there were 138 cases of HIV. Almost 60 percent were among heterosexuals, 23 percent were among gay men and 8 percent were injecting drug users. Cronin said the figures were in line with similar trends in Britain and Western Europe. NDSC statistics also showed that 88 babies were born to HIV-infected mothers last year, but because of a prenatal screening program, only three were infected.
05.29.02; Niall Moonan