Belga

Fewer people being diagnosed as being HIV+

The number of people being diagnosed as being HIV+ fell by 2% in 2017 compared with 2016 and by 27.5% compared with the figures for 2012. Last year 890 people were diagnosed as being HIV+, down from 915 HIV+ diagnosis in 2016. The figures come from the federal health research institute Sciensano in its annual report. Sciensano says that although the figures are encouraging the news of new HIV infections remains high.    

The fall in the new of new infections comes mainly due to a fall in the number of new cases of sexually active gay men becoming infected. Last year sexually active gay men accounted for 48.6% of new HIV infections of which the cause was known.

The number of new infections among gay men has fallen by 34% since 2013. Meanwhile, last year just 1% of cases of new HIV infections came about as a result of intravenous drug use.  Belgians accounted for 63% of new HIV diagnosis in 2017. 17% were other EU nationals and 20% were people from countries outside the EU.   

The number of those that became infected with HIV through heterosexual activity fell by 39% between 2012 and 2017. Last year heterosexual activity accounted for 48.3% of the new infections of which the cause was known.

49% of these were men and women from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and 28% were Belgian. The fall in the number of diagnosis among heterosexual can be entirely attributed in the number of new HIV cases among people from Sub-Saharan Africa. The number of heterosexual Belgians becoming infected remained stable between 2008 and 2015 and has fallen slightly since. .     

The total number of people in Belgium that are HIV+ is estimated to be 18,908 (1.7 per 1,000 population). 16,849 have already been diagnosed. Around 10% of those that are HIV+ don’t know that they are.