Chile is one of the top ten countries with a growing percentage of HIV cases, the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) said in a new report Monday.
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Between 2010 and 2017, registered cases of HIV increased by at least 50 percent, with figures rising from 889,000 cases in 2011 to 1,184,000 in 2017.
Young adults aged between 15 and 29 years old represented 98 percent of the statistics. Better testing and faster diagnoses are pivotal during this “worrisome” time, the Chilean Health Ministry said.
However, without proper protection, these statistics will continue to grow. Experts estimate 7,000 people will be diagnosed by the end of the year, exceeding past records by 100 percent or more.
Surveys show that only 20 percent of the younger population used protection during sexual relations, while another 60 percent had dismissed testing for the virus. Medical specialists attribute the reluctance to testing to the conception of falling HIV rates in the country.
"Young people lost the perception of risk,” Health Minister Emilio Santelices said.
Dr. Alejandro Afani, director of the HIV Center of the Clinical Hospital of the University of Chile, "We must take measures, this is out of control and it is necessary to act quickly, with short-term measures.”
Over half of Chile’s family health centers will be receiving training for HIV testing and treatment, Afani said.
Among the other countries included in the U.N. HIV report were Egypt, Kuwait, Madagascar, Montenegro, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, and Slovakia.