RIGA-The spread of HIV through heterosexual contact has increased substantially in Latvia in 2008, reported the Public Health Agency.
Last year 163 individuals, mostly women aged between 15 and 24 years, contracted HIV, which is about a half of all new HIV-infected cases registered in 2008. Also, 22 persons were infected with HIV through homosexual contacts last year, 100 were infected as a result of intravenous drug use and eight children were born with HIV as their mothers were HIV-infected. In 65 cases, the source of the infection could not be established.
The Public Health Agency experts say that the latest trends in the HIV spread suggests failure to use the barrier methods of contraception. Young girls whose partners are intravenous drug users are also put at a much higher risk.
In 2008, 91 people in Latvia were diagnosed with AIDS, and 144 HIV-infected persons died, including 74 individuals, who had AIDS.
The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in Latvia last year decreased by 15 percent on average, and a total of 1,519 STD cases were registered. Of all STD patients last year, 60 percent were males aged between 18 and 29 years.