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SHOCKING: Half of all new HIV cases in Greece were self-inflicted - to get benefits

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Imagine a nation whose economic situation is so dire that people deliberately contract a debilitating disease in exchange for benefits. This appears to be the case in Greece, battered with high unemployment and high debt. According to a case study, Greeks may be contracting HIV intentionally in order to go on public assistance.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European Region: final report," a new "case study" reported that suicides, homicide and thefts also increased during the Greek economic crisis. The rate of HIV infection, analysts found - were self-inflicted to obtain benefits by as much as 50 percent.

"Suicides rose by 17 percent between 2007 and 2009 and to 25 percent in 2010, according to unofficial 2010 data (398)," the case study reads. "The Minister of Health reported a further 40 percent rise in the first half of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. Suicide attempts have also increased, particularly among people reporting economic distress (610). Homicide and theft rates have doubled.

"HIV rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new HIV infections being self-inflicted to enable people to receive benefits of 700 per month and faster admission on to drug substitution programs," it continued.

The organization now says that it had overstated the percentage of documented self-inflicted cases, writing, "WHO recognizes that there is no evidence suggesting that deliberate self-infection with HIV goes beyond a few anecdotal cases. WHO also recognizes that Greece reported a significant increase (52 percent) in new HIV infections from 2010 to 2011, largely driven by infections among people who inject drugs."

These rates of HIV infection rate were for the years 2009-2011.

Media Matters notes that the WHO's analysis on the rate of self-inflicted HIV is likely a misrepresentation of a report on Greece that appeared in The Lancet. That report focused on the decline in Greek health as a result of the country's financial crisis. The report noted the possibility for "a few" people to self-inflicted HIV as a way to obtain benefits.

"These adverse trends in Greece pose a warning to other countries undergoing significant fiscal austerity, including Spain, Ireland and Italy," the WHO report reads. "It also suggests that ways need to be found for cash-strapped governments to consolidate finances without undermining much-needed investments in health."

Those who wish to read the report in its entirety can click on this link.

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Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)