The Straits Times
Published on Nov 30, 2012

Health officials tell Greece to act fast to control HIV


LONDON (REUTERS) - A spiralling outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in debt-stricken Greece could run out of control if urgent action is not taken, European health officials said on Friday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said infections with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids)-causing virus among drug users and other high-risk groups were rising fast, and that a failure to act would mean far higher costs in future.

ECDC director Marc Sprenger will meet Greek officials this week to say that free needles, syringes and opioid substitution projects must be stepped up, and testing and treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus made available to all.

"Immediate concerted action is needed in order to curb and eventually stop the current outbreak," he told Reuters as the ECDC published a report on Greece's HIV problem.