Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lancet: Greek Economic Crisis
Responsible for HIV Rate Jump

(Greek Pride marchers in 2011. Courtesy photo.)

A report in The Lancet medical journal recently looked at the health effects of the Greek economic crisis, and the news about HIV infection rates was troubling because they're rising. I contacted Andrea Gilbert who's the spokesperson for Athens Pride, to see what Gays Without Borders could do show solidarity with the LGBT community during the banking troubles and preventing HIV transmissions.

We're considering a few ideas and once details are agreed upon next week, we'll share the good word about our collaboration. The goals are to send tangible assistance to our LGBT family in Greece and receive media images of Gays Without Borders symbolic presence at Athens Pride, which is on June 9. More info on it here.

Here's what The Lancet reported in October 2011, and was cited by the NY Times of May 18:
Greece has been affected more by the financial turmoil beginning in 2007 than any other European country. 15 years of consecutive growth in the Greek economy have reversed. In adults, unemployment has risen from 6·6% in May, 2008, to 16·6% in May, 2011 (youth unemployment rose from 18·6% to 40·1%) [...]

Richard Horton has asked whether anyone is looking at the effect of the economic crisis on health and health care in Greece, in light of the adverse health effects of previous recessions. Here, we describe changes in health and health care in Greece on the basis of our analysis of data from the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions, which provide comparable cross-sectional and longitudinal information on social and economic characteristics and living conditions throughout the EU. [...]

A significant increase in HIV infections occurred in late 2010. The latest data suggest that new infections will rise by 52% in 2011 compared with 2010 (922 new cases versus 605), with half of the currently observed increases attributable to infections among intravenous drug users. Data for the first 7 months of 2011 show more than a 10-fold rise in new infections in these drug users compared with the same period in 2010.

The prevalence of heroin use reportedly rose by 20% in 2009, from 20 200 to 24 100, according to estimates from the Greek Documentation and Monitoring Centre for Drugs.

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