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The number of people in Cuba with HIV/AIDS currently stands at 16,479, according to figures published Monday in the official weekly Trabajadores.

Last year, some 2.5 million tests to detect the HIV virus were performed on the island, Public Health Ministry official Maria Isela Lantero told the publication.

A total of 2,156 new cases were detected, of whom 81.5 percent were men, and of those about 15 percent had a previous history of sexually transmitted disease.

Lantero mentioned that of the cases diagnosed in 2013, 40 percent of the infected people had gone more than three years without having an HIV test.

“That indicates that there are still people to reach and that it’s necessary to foster greater individual responsibility for approaching the health services or ... in performing tests for vulnerable groups,” she said.

She said that the prevention efforts are mainly directed at gay men, sex workers and their customers, women and young people, because they are considered to have “greater vulnerability” than the general population for acquiring STDs and HIV/AIDS.

The use of antiretroviral therapy in Cuba has been “successful,” Lantero said, pointing out that of the people who began receiving treatment starting in 2008, more than 94 percent are still alive.

In Cuba, of the 19,781 people diagnosed as being HIV-positive between 1986 and 2013, 8,037 developed AIDS and 3,302 died.


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