Is HIV a problem only for homosexuals and who goes with sex workers?

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Is HIV a problem only for homosexuals and who goes with sex workers?

According to data from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), from the mid-1980s to the present the cases of HIV infection transmitted through heterosexual intercourse have significantly increased. HIV, therefore, is not a problem to be relegated only to certain groups of people, but it is a public health problem that must concern every individual, especially young people.

Even today, unfortunately, many people think that HIV infection almost exclusively affects men who have sex with men, drug addicts and those who have sex with occasional partners or with many partners.

While these behavioral patterns are actually relevant for HIV transmission, today's national data show a growing increase in HIV infections attributable to heterosexual transmission (males and females). In fact, while in 1985 these latter cases represented only 1.7% of the total, since 2012 this percentage has stabilized at around 42%.

In recent years, young people aged 25-29 are the most affected, with the highest ratio of new HIV cases to susceptible population. Ultimately, almost 88% of new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2020 are the result of sexual transmission. For this reason it is essential to always have protected sexual relations with occasional partners or partners whose health status is unknown, since risk behaviors favoring the transmission of HIV infection rather than risk categories.

1. AIDS Operations Center (ISS). Update of the new diagnoses of HIV infection and of AIDS cases in Italy as of 31 December 2020. Newsletter of the Higher Health Institute. 2021; 34 

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