|Number of HIV Diagnoses Decreasing|
by Redaktie in Health & Body , 05 January 2020
Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
The number of new HIV diagnoses in the Netherlands is falling again, from 750 in 2017 to 664 in 2018. This is evident from the 2018 figures published by the HIV Monitoring Foundation, Stichting Hiv Monitoring.
The main focus is on finding new HIV infections faster in men who have sex with men, and finding those who have had HIV infection for some time, but do not know it yet. For the latter, Aidsfonds-Soa Aids Nederland started the “Hebikhiv?” campaign?
"We need to work smarter and more efficiently," says Mark Vermeulen, Director of Aidsfonds-Soa Aids Nederland. “That means different action plans per region, better customization to reach the right people in the right places, and tackling the HIV stigma. Only then can we stop the HIV epidemic in the Netherlands. In any case, the new figures show that we have an excellent starting point in the Netherlands to become the first country in the world with 0 new HIV infections”.
The Netherlands is Ahead
There are an estimated 23,300 people living with HIV in the Netherlands, according to the HIV Monitoring Foundation. 92% of them know that they have HIV and 93% have started HIV treatment. Of the people taking medication, 96% of them see the virus successfully suppressed. The latter is important, because a suppressed virus not only ensures a good life expectancy, but also ensures that people with HIV can no longer transmit the virus.
This puts the Netherlands at the forefront of achieving the goals formulated by UNAIDS for the end of AIDS in 2030. The Netherlands reached the targets for 2020 as early as 2017.
The HIV Monitoring Foundation estimates that around 1,900 people in the Netherlands do not yet know that they have contracted HIV. Two thirds of the new HIV diagnoses are found in men who have sex with men. One in three of those men already has an advanced HIV infection at the time of diagnosis and a damaged immune system. In the Netherlands, people still die from AIDS, around 20 a year, due to a late HIV diagnosis.
Am I HIV positive?
Testing on time and starting HIV treatment is essential. To prevent men who have sex with men from discovering that they have contracted HIV, Aidsfonds-Soa Aids Nederland has started a national campaign Hebikhiv? (Am I HIV positive?)
Men who have been at risk due to unsafe sex are called upon to conduct a check on the Hebikhiv website via an online campaign. If the online check shows that you have symptoms of an acute infection, you will receive a referral letter. This allows you to visit all GGDs (Regional Health Authorities) in the country and you are tested with priority and free of charge.
The Hebikhiv campaign previously only ran in Amsterdam. Between August 2015 and September 2019, 461 men were tested through Hebikhiv? Of them, 34 were found to be HIV positive; 30 of them had an acute new HIV infection.
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