Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How does HIV spread in Europe?

The image to your right is a map of how HIV is transmitted in Europe. Seriously.

Researchers from major European research centers, led by the University of Athens, did testing to determine how international travel and migration patterns affect the spread of HIV in the EU. I have absolutely no idea if the information is surprising at all, as I'm not familiar with HIV across the pond. The findings seem to indicate that the southern European countries tend to "export" the virus more due to tourism. (Though Italy seems to defy that trend.)

In other words: people going south for vacation find a booty call, probably have a little bit of alcohol, and condom use is likely lower. Findings included:
  • Major exporters: Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Serbia (the last due to people fleeing)
  • Importers and exporters: Israel, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK
  • Importers: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg
I mean, it's neat information, and kind of a good warning to make sure that you are protecting yourself every time you have sex (unlike consuming calories, things done greater than 10 miles from your house do count), but practically it's not much. I'm sure an interesting prevention effort could be mounted based on the data, and it shows a need to target vacationing populations... but I think I'm getting a little tired of micromanaging a disease that we already know knows no bounds and tends to defy the conventional rules of transmission. You can't set rules on something that likes to break the rules.

In other HIV news:
  • Hope has been found in a vaginal ring that, in lab studies, acts as both as a contraceptive (preventing pregnancy) and a prophylactic (preventing infections). Unfortunately, it's a vaginal ring and use for men who have sex with men -- the predominate group (numerically) getting HIV in the Western world -- is probably unlikely. It will be good for Africa and will leave AIDS as one of those things that just sick, perverted homo's get.
  • A chemical in green tea -- ECGC -- looks like it may decrease the likelihood of transmission when applied internally due to its action on an enzyme in sperm. Likely, they'll test it on women and leave the rest of us out in the cold until it's been proven to work in the "general population."

Whoa. I guess I'm a little bitter this morning. Sorry.

1 comment:

Jazmine said...

that is a scary map.

good example of how discourses of contemporary xenophobia contaminate and re-historicize discourses of diseases, though.