HIV is becoming more Belgian and more male

There has been a strong surge in the number of men who have sex with men being diagnosed with the HIV virus that can lead to the disease AIDS. At present some 20,000 people in Belgium are known to be infected with the HIV virus. More and more of those infected hold Belgian nationality.

Today Belgium's national AIDS plan was unveiled in the presence of Queen Mathilde.

Figures show there has been a strong surge in the number of infections among men having sex with other men. In 2002 only 23.5% of infections were recorded among gay and bisexual men. By 2011 this figure had risen to 46%. The share of infections due to drug use has fallen.

Each year some 1,000 to 1,200 people are diagnosed with HIV. Belgium has the highest HIV rate in the EU: 10.7 cases per 100,000 head of population. In Europe as a whole the figure is 5.7%.

66% of people who are HIV positive are men. 42.7% of those infected today hold Belgian nationality.

Michel Sidibe, the President of UNAIDS, attended the gathering: "Progress has been made. We now administer one tablet instead of 18. Up to 40 fewer patients are dying than only a couple of years ago. In many countries the pharmaceutical industry, research labs and the population as a whole have all joined the battle against AIDS. We are heading towards a situation in which we are able to prevent children from being infected at birth."