False claim by WHO

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A number of major news sources (among them Russian Television, Fox Business News, Sky News, New Scientist and the Daily Mail) are reporting a shocking finding published in a recently released WHO (World Health Organization) report. The report claims that over half of new HIV infections in Greece are the result of individuals self-infecting themselves with the virus in order to qualify for a state benefit worth 700 euros a month. “HIV rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new HIV infections being self-inflicted to enable people to receive benefits of €700 per month and faster admission on to drug substitution programmes.” – stated the final report entitled “Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European Region”. However, as pointed out by the website mediamatters.org, the study cited in the WHO as the source for the figure actually makes no such claim. Specifically the figure in the WHO report supposedly comes from a 2011 study published in the renowned British Medical Journal Lancet. While this paper does note a significant increase in HIV infection rates in recent years, it attributes this largely to increases in prostitution rates and rates of unsafe sex among high-risk groups. Cases of individuals ‘self infecting’ are only limited to a ‘few individuals’: Specifically, the Lancet study claims that “The latest data suggest that new infections will rise by 52% in 2011 compared with 2010 (922 new cases versus 605), with half of the currently observed increases attributable to infections among intravenous drug users. …Many new HIV infections are also linked to an increase in prostitution (and associated unsafe sex).22 An authoritative report described accounts of deliberate self-infection by a few individuals to obtain access to benefits of €700 per month and faster admission onto drug substitution programmes.” The Lancet study under the title: “Health effects of financial crisis: omens of a Greek tragedy”, was published in September 2011. How the WHO arrived at the “half of new HIV infections being self-inflicted” is anyone’s guess and the organisation is likely to come under serious criticism for publishing such a misleading claim as fact. As a result of this, the erroneous fact is being repeated across the internet at breakneck speed, adding to the narrative that Greece is full of benefit cheats who will stop at nothing to scam the system. The World Health Organisation responding to a written question from the Greek news site The Press Project International has admitted its error by saying: “WHO wishes to point out that the statement in the report “Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO Europe Region” is the consequence of an error in the editing phase of the document. The original source for the statement is a correspondence published in the Lancet by Alexander Kentikelenis and colleagues in September 2011. WHO recognizes that there is no evidence suggesting that “deliberate self-infection with HIV” goes beyond few, anecdotal cases.” Source: thepressproject.netlast_img read more