The number of people who were diagnosed with HIV in Iceland last year is considerably higher than in previous years, RÚV reports. According to the Directorate of Health’s newsletter, where this statistic was published on Thursday, there was also an increase in gonorrhea diagnoses in 2018. There were, however, fewer instances of chlamydia and syphilis infection last year.
Thirty-nine people were diagnosed with HIV in 2018. This is a noteworthy increase, in that in 2017 and 2016 combined, there were fewer than 30 people diagnosed with the virus, and only 10 people were diagnosed in 2015 and 2014 combined. The majority of the individuals infected in 2018, or 30 out of 39, are of foreign origin. Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist believes that five of the individuals infected last year were infected in Iceland. Seventeen were infected via sexual intercourse, two via intravenous drug use, and there was one instance of in utero transmission abroad.
Just over 100 people were diagnosed with gonorrhea in Iceland last year. 80% of these infections occurred in Iceland, and 80% of those diagnosed were men. According to the Directorate of Health’s newsletter, gonorrhea bacteria that are multiply resistant to antibiotics is a growing problem abroad, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a problem in Iceland as well.
There were, happily, some positive trends concerning STI transmission last year. Thirty people were diagnosed with syphilis in 2018. This is below the previous average of 40 cases of infection, which held in 2017 as well. In previous years, there was a dramatic gender gap in diagnoses. For instance, 90% of people diagnosed with the disease were men in 2015. Last year, however, 60% of people diagnosed were men. There was also an even split between Icelanders and people of foreign origin who were diagnosed with syphilis in 2018. Previously, the majority of people diagnosed were Icelandic.
Chlamydia is also on the decline in Iceland. 1,634 people were diagnosed with the infection last year, versus 2,197 in 2017. It is possible, however, that this large drop is because not all instances of the infection were reported. Women make up a slightly higher percentage of the diagnoses, or 54%.