Fewer people infected with HIV, tracing those who don’t know is main challenge

The number of new HIV infections registered in the Netherlands continues to fall, according to new figures published on Tuesday by Aids charities.

Last year 664 new cases of HIV were reported, down from 750 in 2017, the Aidsfonds foundation said. Two-thirds of the new infections are among men who have sex with men.

There are now an estimated 23,300 people in the Netherlands who are infected with HIV but only 92% of them are aware of their status, the Aidsfonds said.

Of them, 93% have begun treatment – which in 96% of cases succeeds in suppressing the virus. This, the foundation says, is important because it not only boosts life expectancy but stops other people becoming infected.

‘We have to work more efficiently,’ director Mark Vermeulen said. ‘That needs a regional approach, and a more tailor-made approach to reach the right people in the right place.’

‘But the new figures do show the Netherlands is in a good position to become the first country in the world to report zero new infections.’

Some 20 people die of Aids every year in the Netherlands, usually because they had a late diagnosis.

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