Thailand, Second Source of HIV Infected Finns

Finn who test positive for HIV are typically heterosexual men aged about 40 who have had unprotected sex during travel abroad.
“In a growing number of cases, people contracted the disease abroad, particularly in Thailand, a favorite holiday destination of Finnish holiday makers,” said Mika Salminen, head of the HIV unit of the National Public Health Institute.
A record number of Finns – 117 – have been infected with HIV this year so far. If the trend continues, the infection rate will have doubled since 2001. Nearly three out of four infections come from sexual contact.
“This is probably only the beginning, if something is not done about it,” Saminen said. He estimated that the number this year will reach about 170.
The Thai government has been combating against the disease for over a decade, but the number of HIV infected people keeps on rising. It plans to cut the number of new infections to 7,500 in 2008 and to less than 6,000 in 2010.
According to the UNAIDS’s 2006 Report on the global Aids epidemic, an estimated 38.6 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Approximately 4.1 million people became newly infected with HIV.

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