11:36 26 November 2013
A report conducted by World Health Organisation (WHO) is claiming that more and more Greeks are now purposefully injecting HIV into themselves to claim cash benefits.
The exposé, which investigated the impact of the financial crisis, said that HIV rates had risen significantly in the debt-ridden country.
WHO confirmed that about half of the new HIV infections were self-inflicted. This allows people to get €700 benefits per month as well as faster admission onto drug rehabilitation programmes.
A spokesman for the WHO said: "These adverse trends in Greece pose a warning to other countries undergoing significant fiscal austerity, including Spain, Ireland and Italy.
"It also suggests that ways need to be found for cash-strapped governments to consolidate finances without undermining much-needed investments in health."
Meanwhile, Professor Jenny Kourea-Kremastinou, the president of Keelpno, said: "It is widely known that HIV epidemics in the population of drug injectors are a complex phenomenon and any effort to stop them faces considerable difficulties, especially in an era of (large-scale) socio-economic change."
“Taking into consideration this situation, public health surveillance and the evaluation of relevant prevention interventions are more crucial and necessary than ever."
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