23 March 2004
BERLIN – The number of newly-reported cases of the anti- immune virus HIV in Germany came to 1,700 last year, down slightly from 1,716 reported in 2002, but figures for gay men increased, officials reported Tuesday.
The Robert Koch Institut in Berlin said that homosexual men in Germany accounted for 704 of the new HIV cases last year, for 41.4 percent of the total. The figure was up from 687 new HIV cases in 2002 and 553 the year before that.
Women accounted for 22 percent of the new HIV cases in 2003, leaving the remaining roughly 37 percent of the new cases for heterosexual men and, in a small number of cases, children.
The institute said most of the new cases of HIV among gay men were concentrated in the large cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt.
The figures showing a rise in HIV for gay men were an indication on the one hand that early diagnosis of HIV in this group is now better than was the case in the past.
But there are also studies indicating that there is again a gradual decline in the use of condoms, along with a rise in the willingness to take risks, the institute said.
As of the end of 2003, the institute said an estimated 43,000 people were living with HIV, comprised of around 33,500 men, 9,500 women and something under 400 children.
At the same time, in 5,000 cases, people became afflicted with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS which is caused by the HIV virus, with around 600 persons dying of the disease.
Subject: German news