Switzerland: Rate of new HIV infections falls by 8%

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The number of new HIV infections in Switzerland declined by 8% in 2013, according to new data.

According to statistics from the Federal Health Office (FHO), a total of 575 new HIV cases were reported in 2013 – decreasing by 8% since the previous year.

Although the decrease is promising, Switzerland’s new cases of infection remain higher than the European average and well above the targets set by the Swiss government.

Swissinfo.ch reports that gay men are responsible for the reduction in infection rates last year.

Making up 3% of sexually active men in Switzerland, gay men represent 39% of new infections in 2013. The FHO is focusing on this demographic to further reduce HIV infection rates.

As medications become more effective and extend the life expectancy of those living with HIV, the FHO says prevention campaigns have increased in difficulty.

Although effective treatment is positive, the concern is that some people will be less attentive to preventing infection.

The World Health Organisation recently endorsed the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication “as an additional method of preventing HIV infection” for gay men.

The 20th International AIDS Conference in Australia next week will focus on keeping HIV/AIDS prevention in the spotlight as the disease becomes more treatable and access to medication grows.