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Small but Significant rise in HIV in Ireland in recent years
Irish Examiner 28/02/2007

By Conor Kane

The incidence of HIV looks to be on the increase in Ireland, with the first half of 2006 showing a 16% increase of new infections from the same period in 2005. And of the 151 new cases reported between January and June of 2006, where the probable route of transmission was know, 78 were acquired heterosexually, compared with 28 among injecting drug users and 40 among homosexual men. In total, 169 people were diagnosed with HIV during that six-month spell, compared with 147 cases in the first half of 2005.

Of the newly diagnosed cases, 105(62.1%) were male while 64(37.9%) were female and the average age at the time of HIV diagnosis was 34.2 years. It's reported that the vast majority of people diagnosed with HIV are aged between 20 and 39.

Since HIV was first identified in the early 1980s, 4,251 cases were reported in Ireland up until the end of last June, while a total of 895 cases of AIDS were reported during that time, with 444 deaths. While the amount of heterosexually transmitted cases was higher than any other type of transmission case during January-June of 2006, a high proportion of those(69.2%) were born in sub- Saharan Africa.

Meanwhile, 39.3% of the injecting drug-users who were diagnosed were from this region, along with 35% of the homosexual men diagnosed. But overall, of all HIV cases diagnosed in Ireland, heterosexual transmission remains the most common, in 36.8% of patients from the start of HIV diagnosis up until June, with injecting drug users following on 30.5% and then homosexual men on 21.8% of cases.

Increases in heterosexual transmission of HIV have been described as "small but significant" in recent years, highlighting the ongoing need for awareness and prevention campaigns.

Who Is Contracting HIV
Heterosexual 1,566 (36.8%) Injecting Drug User 1,298 (30.5%) Homosexual Men 925 (21.8%) Haemophiliac 106 (2.5%) Children 88 (2.1%) Prisoner 39 (0.9%) Blood Donor 30 (0.7%) Transfusion Recipient 12 (0.3%) Occupational 8 (0.2%) Haemophiliac Contact 4 (0.1%) Other 13 (0.3%) Unknown 162 (3.8%) 62 - Percentage of new cases last year in males 38 - Percentage of new cases last year in females 34.2 - Average age in years at the time of HIV diagnosis 4,251 - Number of HIV cases reprted since figures began in early 1980s 895 - Number of AIDS cases reported in that time 444 - Number of deaths reported in that time