|Number of new HIV- cases remains high|
by Redaktie in Health & Body , 11 January 2013
Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
The HIV-Monitor Foundation (SHM) records in her Monitoring Report 2012 that the annual number of new HIV-cases stays high. Over 2011 there were 1076 newly registered infections. This number is stable and at the same level as over 2009 and 2010. The number of new infections over these years averaged on 1100 per year. Amongst men that have sex with other men (MSM) there were 714 new infections in 2011, which is also like the previous years. MSM is still the group that runs most of the risk to get HIV in The Netherlands.
At the moment there are an estimated 25.000 people in The Netherlands that have HIV. About a third of these people have no medical supervision and many of those don’t even know they have HIV. Add them to the number of people that are under medical supervision but do not take medication or do not respond to it and it can be assumed that with a little less than half of these people the virus has not been effectively repressed. This is the group that causes the transmission of HIV.
Frank de Wolf, Director of HIV Monitoring Foundation: 'I’m optimistic about the effect of the treatment on people with HIV. This treatment is helping the patient and it’s stops the infectiousness. Yet, we see the epidemic drag on. It’s of the highest priority that people are aware of the risks that they take, that they get tested regularly and that if they’re found positive they start with medication quickly.’
Epidemic is not under control
The HIV epidemic in The Netherlands is concentrated in the group of men that have sex with other men (MSM). The total number of newly registered HIV infections amongst MSM is not going up, but it’s not going down either. There’s a gradual decrease visible amongst MSM in the age between 35 to 44. But amongst young adult MSM (up till 25) and MSM of 55 and older the numbers are going slightly up.
The number of new cases in the group of patients with straight sex contacts is going gradually going down, probably because immigration from HIV affected regions like southern Africa is down. The number of newly registered HIV cases amongst Dutch straight men and women has been higher than the numbers amongst people from endemic regions since 2009.
Late HIV diagnoses
The percentage of people with whom the HIV diagnosis comes at a late stage of the infection has been halved since 1996, but in 43% of the cases the diagnosis still only comes when the patient’s immune system has already taken a huge blow or when the patient already has developed AIDS. These late diagnoses cause late starts with medication and therefore reduced chances on full recovery of the immune system. These high percentages show that people from high risk groups are not being tested regularly enough, yet.
Not many people die of HIV or AIDS since the introduction of new treatments, but people with HIV still die at a younger age. Living with HIV has improved greatly over the past ten years. This is due to the effective medication that represses the virus almost completely. The current combination therapy (cART) is easier to use, has fewer side effects and also has less toxicity for the long term.
For about 10% of the people this treatment is not effective. An estimate of 30% of them is HIV-resistant to at least one of the components of the treatment. At this moment only 30% of the people with whom the treatment fails are screened for resistance. It is of great importance that this screening is done more often so that patients get the best possible treatment.
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