Norway registers major decline in HIV infection cases

PrEPPhoto: Vidar Ruud / NTB
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So far this year, 109 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Norway. That is a significant decrease from last year.

Tuesday is World AIDS Day, and Norway’s Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) is pleased with the development related to HIV in Norway.

“It is very gratifying that we see a marked decrease in the number of new cases of HIV infection in Norway. Only a small proportion of those diagnosed with HIV are infected in Norway,” he said.

Last year, 176 people were diagnosed with HIV, according to an overview from the Ministry of Health and Care Services. 

It is expected that 125 people will be diagnosed with HIV this year.

A total of 6,750 Norwegians have been infected by the virus, which created great fear in the 1980s.

Infected abroad

Homosexuals and injecting drug users have long been considered the risk groups, but statistics show that most heterosexuals have contracted HIV. Most have been infected abroad.

This year, a total of 54 people in the heterosexual category have been diagnosed with HIV, which is almost 50% less compared to last year. Thirty-seven of these have been infected abroad, compared to 67 last year.

According to the ministry, the decline in this group is probably related to the corona pandemic and may have been exacerbated due to reduced entry and exit in Norway.

In comparison, 49 homosexuals have been diagnosed with HIV this year, compared to 61 last year.

Since 2017, the PrEP pill has been available for free to gay men. It allows you to have sex without a condom without risking HIV infection.

“It shows that the investment in prevention and introduction of PrEP has given clear results,” Høie believes.

More openness

With successful treatment, HIV-positive people today are not contagious. Nevertheless, shame and prejudice make it difficult to live with the disease, the Minister of Health emphasized.

“Therefore, we must continue the work for more openness and more knowledge,” he added.

The HIV virus has been detected in every country in the world, with sub-Saharan Africa being the hardest hit continent. 

According to the UN, at the end of 2019, there were about 38 million people living with HIV. 

Since the start of the epidemic, it is estimated that about 78 million people have been infected with HIV, while over 35 million people have died of AIDS-related diseases.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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