Ireland: Rise in HIV Among Non-Nationals Highlighted
June 2, 2004
Of new HIV cases diagnosed in Ireland, more than half are people born in sub-Saharan Africa, an AIDS conference has been told. This fact puts those working with HIV-infected people in a difficult position, said Dublin AIDS Alliance Director Ann Nolan.
"Although we make representations on their behalf, we're afraid to highlight their cases in the media for fear of increasing discrimination against HIV non-nationals, who have, to our shame, already suffered enough," Nolan said. Unsuccessful HIV-positive asylum seekers face deportation to countries where no treatment is available, Nolan noted.
Irish HIV rates, though relatively low by European standards, have started to rise again, Nolan said, with heterosexual drug use the primary transmission mode. Infection is increasing among drug users because of different injection practices and the increasing popularity of injecting cocaine. Of 3,216 people diagnosed with HIV in Ireland, 731 have progressed to AIDS. By the end of 2002, there were 369 AIDS-related deaths. AIDS groups and clinics are confronting a "crisis of capacity" in dealing with the cases, she said, and the gay community is facing new infections among men who grew up after the wave of publicity about AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s.
Also addressing the conference was Mark Heywood, treasurer of South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign. He said the war on AIDS is being eclipsed by the war on terrorism, even as AIDS poses much greater short- and long-term threats to world security.
05.29.04; Paul Cullen
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.