New HIV Cases in Sweden Increased by 20% in 2007, Health Officials Say
The number of new HIV cases recorded in Sweden in 2007 increased by 20%, according to preliminary data published on Tuesday by the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, AFP/Google.com reports. According to the data, about 500 new HIV cases were recorded in the country in 2007, compared with 390 new cases recorded in 2006. The number of new cases recorded among men who have sex with men increased from 50 in 2006 to about 80 in 2007, and the number of cases recorded among injection drug users increased from 35 in 2006 to about 70 in 2007, according to the institute. The data also indicate that the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV who contracted the virus inside the country increased to 70% of cases, according to AFP/Google.com.
Researcher Claes Herlitz, who has been examining Swedish attitudes toward HIV since the late 1980s, said that the data suggest that people are becoming less worried about contracting the virus than they were 10 years ago. "Interest in HIV/AIDS has gradually declined as people have become more accustomed to the threat," he said, adding, "They've seen that HIV hasn't spread as quickly as we thought it would in the late '80s, and there are new medicines making it more difficult to get AIDS. Fewer people are dying." Herlitz added that people living with HIV in Sweden face less stigma and discrimination. "But perhaps the fear has declined too much," he said, adding, "Risky sexual behavior has increased, and a greater number of people are having casual sex without using a condom." According to institute statistician Malin Arneborn, cases of most sexually transmitted infections are increasing in Sweden because people are "having more unprotected sex" (AFP/Google.com, 2/5).