First decline in new HIV infections


Fewer new diagnoses of HIV in Germany for the first time

For the first time in years, the number of new HIV diagnoses has decreased slightly. Researchers believe that improved therapies and low-threshold AIDS testing services have helped lower the infection rate.

The rate of new infections with the HI virus has dropped somewhat for the first time in ten years. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin, 2,889 patients have been infected with the virus. This corresponds to a 1.7 percent reduction in new cases compared to the same period in 2011. In previous years, the numbers had increased year after year. "The declining numbers are remarkable," according to the current epidemiological bulletin of the RKI.

Not every case of AIDS is reported
In 2011, 502 people became ill with the immune deficiency disease AIDS. However, the numbers of newly diagnosed infections do not necessarily reflect the current infection, ”reports one of the study authors. The actual rate of new cases can only be estimated since not all cases are reported and the number of unreported cases is usually higher. “For 2011, the RKI expects around 1,000 newly diagnosed AIDS cases for Germany. "This means that even taking into account an average reporting delay of over 3 years, only about every second newly diagnosed AIDS case is reported to the RKI."

Gay men continue to make up the largest group of patients with 55 percent of new HIV infections found. Nevertheless, the number of new diagnoses in this group fell significantly from 1697 (2010) to 1574 (2011). This corresponds to a minus of around seven percentage points. Of the total number of HIV diagnoses, 15.7 percent were women. In contrast to the previous year, the quota rose slightly by 0.7 percent. "The new HIV diagnoses in women have been fluctuating around 450 since 2007 and thus remain at a constant level."

The proportion of men has solidified over the past ten years. Since 2003 the proportion has increased by around ten percent. “The number of new HIV diagnoses in men fell slightly from 2,488 to 2,428. In seven reports in 2011, the gender was missing. "

Fewer and fewer drug addicts are infected
Contrary to the social picture, the proportion of drug addicts has been relatively low compared to other patient groups since the start of the separate evaluation of the RKI. Only 90 new infections were reported to the institute. That corresponds to a share of three percent. Prevention measures by drug advice centers could play a major role here.

Fewer new HIV infections in East Germany
The most common new infections occurred in the federal states of Berlin, Hesse, Hamburg, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia. The states of Thuringia, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Saarland had the lowest rates of new cases.

However, the RKI cannot recognize a turnaround and at the same time warned against premature conclusions. The experts suspect that the new diagnoses have decreased due to the better treatment options for HIV patients. In addition, low-threshold AIDS test offers helped to reduce the number of new infections.

Medicines can now significantly reduce the risk of infection with the HI virus. For their part, the test offers ensure that the number of unreported cases remains low and infections are recognized more quickly. Since the separate registration, a total of 28,453 people with AIDS have been registered by the RKI. 14295 people have died as a result of the immune deficiency. (sb)

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Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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