For the 34th time this December 1st, the World AIDS Day committed. Various campaigns online and offline draw attention to this year’s motto “Equalize – end inequalities” and the situation of AIDS patients or HIV-infected people. The Ebersberg health department is also dedicating itself to the infectious disease on Thursday and is offering an information event with various hands-on stations for eighth-grade students from the district. But AIDS and HIV are not only an issue in Ebersberg on this day.
For example, the three employees in the district office’s pregnancy counseling service have been visiting school classes and youth groups regularly for 15 years to provide information about the virus and the disease – everything on request. Especially since Corona, the need for it seems to have increased. Because Petra Ruch, one of the educators from the team, says that many young people consider shaking hands, drinking from the same glass or coughing on a high risk of becoming infected with HIV.
The young people conclude from corona transmission routes to HIV
“For two years, the children were drummed into not doing this so as not to get corona,” says Ruch. The conclusion of many young people: Covid and AIDS are both infectious diseases, so the same transmission routes apply to both. A fallacy: shaking hands and the like do not pose a risk of HIV infection. Since then, the prevention team has been very careful to speak of corona positives on the one hand and HIV-infected people on the other – and not HIV-positive – in order to avoid the linguistic Differentiation to emphasize the two very different infections, as Ruch says.
In addition to the HIV and AIDS prevention offers for young people, there is the AIDS counseling of the health department. Those seeking advice can go there and take a free HIV test – all anonymously. Incidentally, HIV self-tests have also been available in pharmacies or online since October 2018. It is always important that the possible infection occurred at least six weeks ago so that the test result is as meaningful as possible.
For the tests in the health department, only gender, month and year of birth, the first three digits of the postcode and country of origin and country of residence are recorded, as Helia Gebhardt, medical officer in the health department, reports, she is primarily responsible for the advice and tests. The data are necessary in order to be able to assign the results.
Most people seeking advice from the health department want to be on the safe side
So far this year, 33 tests have been carried out in the health department. The health department does not want to say how many of them were positive – Gebhardt generally speaks of “individual cases”. Most of the time, people take the test option to be on the safe side in a new partnership before they stop using condoms. Women come as well as men, from 18 to 60 years of every age is represented.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) not recorded due to the anonymized data, as the press office reports. The institute estimates the number of new infections for 2021 in Bavaria at a good 200 cases, and the RKI speaks of 1800 new infections across Germany. The number is as low as it was last two decades ago – although that RKI expressly points out that the corona pandemic may mean fewer people are taking advantage of the test options, which could mean that the actual number of new infections could be higher. In total, around 90,800 people were living with HIV in Germany at the end of 2021.