THREE NEW cases of HIV were recorded in the first 20 days of the year, according to the head of the support centre for people with HIV/AIDS Stella Michaelidou.
Speaking in parliament after briefing the House Health Committee on the campaign to tackle AIDS in Cyprus, Michaelidou said three new cases of HIV among young Cypriots were recorded between January 1 and January 20, noting a small increase in the incidence of HIV among young Cypriots aged 19-30.
During the same period last month, six new cases of HIV were recorded, all Cypriot.
Michaelidou warned that the economic crisis would bring more infections and called for greater public awareness campaigns.
According to the support centre head, increased unemployment and falling wages has caused financial problems among HIV-positive people, adding that in the last six months, there has been an increase in the number of HIV-positive sex workers.
The main factors leading to the increase in recorded cases are risky sexual behaviour, migratory flows and increased drug use.
Fryni Venardi, head of the Grigoriou Clinic charity organisation, argued that the number of HIV/AIDS cases was on the up because public awareness campaigns “have stopped completely”.
She called for greater enlightenment and awareness campaigns on television and in armies and schools.
In December, during a press conference to mark World AIDS Day, the health ministry said the infections rate of HIV in Cyprus is estimated at close to 0.1 per cent of the population.
In 2010 there were 41 diagnoses, 54 in 2011 and 58 in 2012. By the end of October, 2013, 46 cases had been recorded.
The ministry’s acting permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki said the government spent €4.3 million in 2012 and €5 million in the first 11 months of 2013 on administering antiretroviral drugs to patients.