Ireland's HIV Incidence Higher Than EU Average
A recent European Union HIV/AIDS surveillance report found that HIV incidence in Ireland is higher than the European Union average, and officials with the country's Health Protection Surveillance Center recently expressed concerns about a lack of complete data on newly diagnosed cases, the Irish Times reports. According to the report, Ireland in 2007 had 82.9 newly diagnosed HIV cases per one million people, compared with the European Union average of 58.1 newly diagnosed cases per one million people.
In addition, the Times reports that HPSC was given incomplete data pertaining to more than 50 cases of HIV diagnosed within the first six months of 2008, creating difficulties for analyzing and interpreting the country's HIV/AIDS trends.
A spokesperson for HPSC said that basic information about the 170 newly diagnosed HIV cases for the period ending in June was received from the laboratory that identified them but that 53 of those cases were missing extra information -- such as country of birth, pregnancy status, stage of the virus and probable route of transmission -- that can be helpful for identifying HIV trends in the country. "Clinicians are not required by law to notify us about cases of HIV and AIDS," the HPSC spokesperson said, adding, "While in general we get good voluntary support, it is an extra piece of work. We hope the completeness of the information we get from the clinicians will improve."
According to the spokesperson, the "magnitude of the problem of missing data, and the fact that this is increasing, once again highlights the need for a statutory notification system for HIV infection in Ireland." According to the Times, a total of about 5,000 HIV cases have been reported in Ireland as of June 2008 (Minihan, Irish Times, 12/9).
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