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Environment

Germany Sees a Rise in Number of New HIV Cases

Germany experienced some 2,752 new cases of HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, during 2007.

Photo of lab slide featuring purple and blue colored T-cells

HIV infected human T-cells

That's an increase of about 4 percent over the previous year, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the federal institute responsible for disease control and prevention.

While the number of infections decreased among three groups: heterosexuals, drug addicts, and immigrants from countries with a high incidence of AIDS, there was a jump of 12 percent in new cases reported in homosexual men. These account for approximately 65 percent of all cases of HIV in Germany.

Germany's HIV infection rate has increased steadily since 2001, a phenomenon that could be partially attributed to early diagnosis and a larger number of people being tested for HIV.

A simultaneous increase in syphilis cases

Joerg Hacker, president of the Robert Koch Institute, also offered another reason for the increase.

"One of the little-known reasons for this increase is the high number of syphilis infections in Germany," Hacker said. Germany has seen a rise in syphilis cases each year since 2004. Researchers at the Robert Koch Institute say that those infected simultaneously with syphilis and HIV are more infectious.

Around 59,000 people in Germany are infected with the virus that leads to AIDS. Most of these new infections occurred in large cities, including Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Berlin.

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