The burden with the consequences of HIV prevention strategies: The ongoing challenges for the societies

Author(s): Reinhard H Dennin

The person-to-person bound HIV infection continues to be spread by humans around the world. According to UNAIDS, about 38.0 million people globally were living with HIV in 2019. In the European Union (EU), the increasing number of new HIV infections is ongoing, although different EU countries have diverse rates. The late diagnosis of HIV infection is seen as the main reason for this. This situation resulted in countries despite HIV prevention strategies basing on liberal concepts concerning self-determination. Too many people of concern here are prone to risky sex practices or drug use, instead of following these concepts responsibly. Prevention strategies adapted to the current situation must cover various categories: First, the individual level of people at risk of contracting HIV infection and those already infected. Alternative concepts are required, such as contact tracing to follow back chains of infection to achieve early diagnosis. These are measures to avoid new infections with HIV and the sequelae of severe diseases that may occur despite antiretroviral treatment options. Second, to protect the societies that have to bear the financial burden for antiretroviral drugs, medical and social support for those infected: people unable to provide oneself with daily needs due to unemployability. Prevention campaigns need to contain targeted messages such that everyone has both duties and responsibilities for the community. Concerning juridical aspects: Criminality begins if somebody intentionally or negligently infects another person with HIV, thereby causing bodily harm. However, judicial proceedings were almost entirely superfluous because a new infection’s individual-related causality can hardly be proven years after the infection has taken place.