© Pierre Weimerskirch / RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg
Minister of Health Etienne Schneider presented the AIDS Surveillance Committee report of 2018 on Thursday.
2018’s infection rates suggest that the action plan that came into effect last year is successful: compared to 60 new cases in 2017, 2018 only saw 43.
This decline is particularly remarkable among heterosexual men, where the number of new infections fell from 31 to 14. Infections amongst drug addicts also witnessed a downturn. On the other hand, cases among homosexuals and bisexuals have increased: 21 were infected in 2018, compared to 15 in the previous year, with those in the 16-35 age bracket seem to be most at risk.
This rise has occurred despite the introduction of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in 2017: HIV medication taken for high-risk individuals with the aim of preventing infection. 118 people are currently using it in Luxembourg.
The danger of HIV infections no longer looms over younger generations: a shift from previous years when people were regularly exposed to tragedy and a number of AIDS related deaths among famous people. The fear that had become socially ingrained has eased off, which is partly due to the fact that modern treatments now allow people to live with the disease, said Schneider.
The HIV self-test kit has been available in pharmacies since Thursday. Soon, they will also be on sale in supermarkets. The test results will be available in thirty minutes.