The Federal Health Office has presented its new National Programme for HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections 2011–2017 (NPHS).
For the first time, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are being included in addition to HIV. The main aim is to reduce the number of new cases of HIV and other STIs and to avoid the adverse health consequences that follow on from these infections.
The Health Office said in a statement that STIs were being included because they were on the rise, with some spreading at a rate higher than the western European average. STIs are also known to play a role in the spread of HIV. Other European countries already have a dual STIs and HIV strategy, the office added.
The new programme focuses on groups that are particularly at risk as well as already infected people and their partners. In particular, it aims to bring about a cultural change, namely that after receiving a positive diagnosis, a person should voluntarily inform his or her partner.
People from groups that are particularly at risk are more than 30 to 100 times likely to become infected with HIV and the partners of infected individuals are around 300 times more likely to become infected than the population at large, says the Health Office.