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WHO Retracts Claims That "About Half" of Greek HIV Infections Are Self-inflicted

November 27, 2013

The WHO has "retract[ed] claims that crisis-hit Greeks are intentionally injecting themselves with [HIV] to collect state benefits almost two months after the shocking allegation was revealed in a report [.pdf] that triggered global media coverage," The Guardian reports (Smith, 11/26). "The startling claim was contained in a single sentence on page 112 of the organization's European report, published in September and more broadly publicized by the agency in late October," the New York Times notes (Hakim, 11/26). "WHO said HIV rates had risen 'significantly' in the debt-ridden country, with 'about half' of new HIV infections self-inflicted, allowing people to receive benefits of €700 [$950] per month," Sky News writes (11/26). "WHO cited no one in making this claim, and offered no additional data to back it up," according to the Wall Street Journal's "Real Time Brussels" blog (Stevis, 11/26).

"In a statement [on Tuesday], the WHO apologized for the mistake and said it was the result of an editing error," Fox Business notes, adding, "[T]he WHO said it would be accurate to say that slightly more than half of Greece's new HIV cases are among those who inject drugs" (Egan, 11/26). "The WHO has admitted that the 'erroneous reference' is based on a study published in The Lancet by Alexander Kentikelenis and colleagues in September 2011," according to RT News (11/26). "But that study found only a small number of anecdotal cases of Greek people infecting themselves with HIV to get benefit pay-outs," Washington Post blogger Max Fisher writes in the newspaper's "WorldViews" blog (11/26).

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This information was reprinted from kff.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.




This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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