AIDS on the rise in Cuban youth

Associated Press

Tuesday August 18, 2009

HAVANA - Cuban health authorities have warned of a dramatic rise in AIDS cases among the young on the island, where there over 1,300 new HIV infections in 2008 and another 1,400 are estimated for this year.

Cubans aged 19 to 24 are at the greatest risk of infection, said Jorge Perez, deputy director of the Tropical Medicine Institute in Havana, warning of the dangers of unprotected sex.

"This is something that tends to happen more to young people because of the dynamism of youth, not thinking about the future and only about the present... Having a no-fear attitude and doing things that are risky," he told local television in this communist country of 11 million people.

"We must tell you beware, because there is danger in trust."

Of the total of 11,469 cases of HIV infections recorded in Cuba since 1986, 4,602 people developed aids and 1,864 died, according to official figures.

The national anti-AIDS program offers free medical care and antiretroviral therapy, out of six Cuban-manufactured generic drugs.

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