Thursday, July 15, 2004

HIV Rates Rising Among Young Gay Men

After falling for several years, rates of HIV infection, particularly among young gay men, are rising again. A report out by the Robert Koch Institute, a federal organization that researches disease control and prevention, warns that the epidemic of HIV in Germany could acquire a "new dynamic" since the number of infections since 2001 has been rising steadily.
Three years ago, the institute reported 1,470 HIV infections in Germany; in 2002, that number rose to 1,716; last year, 1,958 people contracted the virus. That is a 33 percent rise in three years. The trend toward rising infection rates also affects heterosexuals, half of those infected were men who had sex with men.
Rolf Gindorf, founder and past president of DGSS, a sexuality research center in Düsseldorf says: "Older gay men, say around 40 and up, are aware of the danger because they came of age at a time when death rates were high and AIDS information was very visible and always on people's minds, But younger people today, they don't have that experience. Knowing that the disease can be treated tends to make them carefree when it comes to sex."
A 20-year-old gay Berlin resident, who has found out recently he has been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, blames the lack of a strong public message and vigorous discussion about AIDS for his infection.
"It didn't do much good for me to see some celebrity up there talking about wearing condoms or something," he said. "I needed something blatant that could shock me into making the right decisions. "

I believe we all need to play a constructive role in spreading awareness among people. Each in their own field of work, each in their own way of conveying the message. We should drop this passive status we’re in and wake up. Many people are getting infected with HIV, and unfortunately many pass it to their partners and their children, either because they’re not aware of their infection, or because they’re some egoistic desire-seeking bastards.
Source: DeutscheWelle