Dutch AIDS deaths down, but infection rate up

hiv, aidsTHE HAGUE (AFP) - The number of people dying from AIDS each year in the Netherlands has fallen considerably since the introduction of combination therapies a decade ago, but the rate of new HIV infections continues to rise, a new report warned.

The number of people diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2006 was 950, up 329 from 1996, the HIV Monitoring foundation's annual report stated.

Homosexual sex was the leading cause of transmission, affecting 500 people in 2006. "The HIV epidemic is not under control in the male homosexual community in the Netherlands," the foundation warned. "As well as combination therapy, prevention is essential," it added.

More than 1.54 percent of people receiving combination therapy for HIV later died of AIDS-related complications in 2005. The therapies reduced the rate of deaths from the virus from 76 percent in 1996 to 39 percent today.

"As with the rest of the population, a large proportion of infected people today die first from cardiovascular illnesses or even cancer which are not related to their HIV," HIV Monitoring explained.

In 1996, the Netherlands introduced HIV treatments consisting of combinations of antiretroviral drugs. Today, 80 percent of Dutch HIV-positive people receive combination therapies.

An HIV patient is classed as having AIDS at the stage where they show a series of symptoms associated with a suppressed immune system, including opportunistic infections and tumors.

source -  AFP