Oops, Our Bad: WHO Withdraws Claim That Half of New Cases of HIV Infections In Greece Are Self-Inflicted [Updated]

800px-Lytras_nikiforos_antigone_polynicesA new World Health Organization report contains a truly shocking claim: roughly a half of new HIV infections in Greece are self-inflicted to get the monthly 700 euro payment for those with AIDS. It is the sign of the desperation felt by many in the country to get government benefits after the austerity measures required under European bailout agreements. The report also says that suicides are up 17 percent between 2007 and 2009 and then another 25% in 2010. In 2011, they were up another 40%. Now WHO has withdrawn the claim and says that there is no evidence to support it.

Unemployment in the country is now 26.9% and health care access has been slashed 40 percent.

The WHO figure relies on a 2011 report by the University Mental Health Research Institute that found evidence that large numbers of people were “intentionally infected with HIV, because of the benefit that are entitled to (approximately 1,400 euros every two months).”

It is astonishing that WHO would tell the world of this alarming practice and then say “There may be anecdotal evidence [of self-inflicted HIV infections], but no evidence as such.” Exactly how could such a provocative finding be lost in careless editing or drafting in an international health document released to the world community?

The thought of such of desperate calculation was crushing. Now the withdrawal of the claim by one of the largest international organizations in the world adds an element of true absurdity. Either way, it is a true Greek tragedy.

“Leave me to my own absurdity.”
― Sophocles, Antigone

22 thoughts on “Oops, Our Bad: WHO Withdraws Claim That Half of New Cases of HIV Infections In Greece Are Self-Inflicted [Updated]”

  1. **Anonymously Yours 1, November 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Ok…. Self inflicted…. Hmmmm…. Unprotected sex with self….. Or junkie….. I’m going with the first…. It’s kinda hard to do, but…. I’m sure but autofellatio can be done…


    They could just get some known tainted blood from people like Ronnie Raygun, GHW Nazi Bush, Gerry Falwell/Pat Robertson/Red Cross & their friends.

  2. Annie,

    The Greek government also over promised and then built a system that under performed and was based on bad suppositions and premises.

  3. I understand that Greeks got away with not paying their taxes and that was one of the reasons their economy failed. We could learn a lesson from that, in addition to the lesson that austerity doesn’t work.

  4. I was taught by the French Revolution that “let them eat cake” leads to ruler’s heads being cut off by angry mobs. To put Greece in perspective, their situation is as if they made a really good looking cake, but because the chefs were idiots, they used dry mix concrete instead of baking flour. The crisis in Greece is exacerbated – if not largely due to – gross mismanagement by the officials of the Greek government. That does not mean that the goal of making the cake was wrong. It just means the cake was poorly made.

  5. I was taught austerity by my mother who survived abject poverty and hunger during the Depression.

  6. Ok…. Self inflicted…. Hmmmm…. Unprotected sex with self….. Or junkie….. I’m going with the first…. It’s kinda hard to do, but…. I’m sure but autofellatio can be done…

  7. I’ll be sure to tell that to my friend I buried a couple of years ago… Next time I’m by that guy’s grave!

    Ya, I know where it came, only wished I’d made copies his paper work
    For the Worms.

  8. Ever been to Greece? Notice that 99% smoke tobacco constantly? Nice people but they need to know that guns are quicker. Dumb smoker is an oxymoron.

  9. Thank you, Juliet; I was suspicious of the “new” in “new HIV” infections already (how many new HIV infections? does “half” of them constitute 0.01% of the population?)

    But (for other readers) Juliet’s catch shows half of new cases are the result of “self injection” by intravenous drug users with used needles, and there is nothing but anecdotal reports that a few of these were intentional.

    So yes, IV drug addicts can exhibit crazed behavior to the point of self harm. As evidenced by their IV drug addiction in the first place.

  10. Yup. It’s nonsense


    This statement is the consequence of an error in the editing of the report. The original source is correspondence published in the “Lancet” by Alexander Kentikelenis and colleagues in September 2011. Kentikelenis et al. mention “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”, based on the report of the “Ad hoc expert group of the Greek focal point on the outbreak of HIV/AIDS in 2011” (Athens: Greek Documentation and Monitoring Centre for Drugs; 2011).

    WHO recognizes that there is no evidence suggesting that deliberate self-infection with HIV goes beyond a few anecdotal cases. WHO also recognizes that Greece reported a significant increase (52%) in new HIV infections from 2010 to 2011, largely driven by infections among people who inject drugs. The causes for this increase are multifaceted and WHO welcomes the work of the ad hoc expert group and other entities to improve understanding of them and to recommend appropriate measures to extend the benefits of the comprehensive package of interventions for harm reduction to all people who inject drugs.

  11. Education, Health, and Opportunity.

    Every Democracy organized for Government; of, by and for the people, MUST put these goals FIRST.

    This post speaks of Ignorance, desperation, and hopelessness.

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