HIV infection up among homosexual men
27 November 2007, BRUSSELS - The number of homosexual men in Belgium that are infected with the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, has risen sharply. The latest figures have been released by Public Health authorities and Sensoa, an organisation which educates the public on sexual behaviour.
27 November 2007
BRUSSELS - The number of homosexual men in Belgium that are infected with the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, has risen sharply. The latest figures have been released by Public Health authorities and Sensoa, an organisation which educates the public on sexual behaviour.
The latest figures are for 2006. Last year 1,014 new diagnoses of HIV were made in Belgium, which is a slight decline compared to the year before. The decline is attributed mainly to the drop in the number of infections in the group of non-Belgians. This group however is still responsible for 55% of the total number of infections in our country.
The number of Belgians infected with the HIV virus increased by 20% last year. Most of the new diagnoses of HIV infection are among homosexual men. Over a five year period the number of diagnoses in this group doubled. Sensoa calls the increase worrying and dramatic. "There is more HIV infection among homosexual men, and at the same time the group is only a small percentage of the entire population."
"An estimated 1 in 33 Belgian homosexual men is HIV positive, but this is probably an underestimation. Monitoring in our neighbouring countries reveals that nearly 1 in 10 homosexual men carry the HIV virus."
According to Marc Sergeant of Sensoa, the chance of contracting HIV is higher amongst homosexual men than amongst heterosexual men. With breakthroughs in medical research, HIV infected people stay healthy longer these days. This often means that they also stay sexually active.
The number of Belgian HIV infections due to heterosexual contact has also increased slightly, but the rise is much less dramatic percentage-wise.
Sensoa is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest non-governmental organisation for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and of EuroNGOs.
Sensoa is also a member of Aids Action Europe, contributing to the worldwide battle against HIV and AIDS and promoting the exchange of experience and expertise between Western, Central- and Eastern European countries.
[Copyright Flanders news 2007]
Subject: Belgian news