Number of new HIV infections does not decline

Number of new HIV infections does not decline / Health News

Decline in HIV infection only in homosexual and bisexual men

The number of new HIV infections in the past year has remained constant compared to 2015. As reported by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in a joint press release, estimated that in 2016 about 3100 people were newly infected with the virus. Around 460 people died or died of HIV last year. Since many people still do not know about their infection, it is an important goal to reduce the high number of undiagnosed HIV cases, according to the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar H. Wieler.

More than 3,000 new infections

Around 3,100 people in Germany have newly infected themselves with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in 2016. According to the joint press release of the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Ministry of Health, the number of new infections thus remained constant compared to the previous year. At the end of 2016, there were approximately 88,400 people living with HIV in Germany - including 56,100 men having sex with men (MSM), around 11,200 heterosexuals and around 8,200 intravenous drug users.

The numbers of new HIV infections have remained constant overall. But many sufferers know nothing about their infection, because they have not been tested. (Gamjai /

Falling numbers in gay men

However, the trends would be different in these groups, explained Lothar H. Wieler. "The falling number of infections in the largest group of sufferers, the men who have sex with men, is good news," said the president of the RKI. Here, the number of new infections has dropped from 2,500 in 2013 to 2,100 in the past year, informs the RKI in the Epidemiological Bulletin (issue 47/2017).

"But among heterosexuals, the estimated number of new infections has been rising since 2010 to 750 now in 2016," emphasizes Wieler. Approximately 490 women (15.8%) and 260 men (8.4%) joined the RKI last year on a heterosexual path with the HIV virus. The transmission of the virus is mainly through sexual contact with people from the most affected groups (men who have sex with men, people who inject intravenously, and people infected with HIV abroad).

For drug users, the RKI since 2010, an increase to about 240 new infections in 2016 recognizable. One of the reasons for this development is the rising number of HIV infections among drug users in Eastern Europe due to a lack of prevention and new drugs that are injected frequently. Due to the increased mobility, this increase also has an effect on the infection in Germany.

Many sufferers know nothing about their infection

Another problem: many of the infected do not even know that they have been infected with the HI virus. This concerns an estimated 12,700 of the 88,400 people with HIV. Ten years earlier, there were still about 10,900 sufferers whose infection was not diagnosed. "Reducing the high number of undiagnosed people living with HIV is an important goal," emphasized Wieler.

Late diagnosis increases the risk of death

If the infection is detected late, many people are affected by the weakening immune system on various diseases, which are collectively referred to as "AIDS disease". These include, for example, lung inflammation caused by fungi, tuberculosis or brain inflammation caused by toxoplasmosis. As a consequence of the late diagnosis, not only the treatment costs but also the risk of death increase, according to the report.

Virus is passed on unknowingly

Furthermore, there is a risk that the virus will be passed on without knowledge. Straight heterosexual persons often misjudge their infection risk or displace it, which means that they can be tested less frequently and any new infections - if any - are diagnosed late.

In order to curb the number of undiagnosed cases, established physicians should therefore offer a test for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections according to the guidelines, the RKI and BMG claim.

Reduce fears and uncertainties

"The figures show that we are on the right track with our successful prevention work and the good treatment offers. Germany is one of the countries with the lowest HIV infection rates in Europe. These efforts must be vigorously pursued with the aim of further reducing the number of contagions, "said Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe.

This includes information about the disease to "reduce fears and uncertainties in dealing with people infected with HIV, so that an unprejudiced living together becomes a matter of course," said the CDU politician. (No)