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Balkan countries mark World AIDS Day
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08:25, December 02, 2008

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Anti-AIDS institutions and activists from three Balkan countries marked the World AIDS Day on Monday by raising the awareness of AIDS.

The tiny EU-member state of Slovenia launched a nation-wide campaign under the slogan "Use Condom, Choose Life," to raise the awareness of the importance of protection against HIV infection, the official Slovenian Press Agency reported.

Campaigners handed out free condoms, anti-AIDS red ribbons and promotional leaflets.

According to the Slovenian Health Protection Institute (IVZ), there have been 266 recorded cases of HIV infection in the last 10years and 38 have patients have died.

The number of HIV positive people in Slovenia, while relatively low, is growing.

A total of 41 new cases of HIV infections have been reported this year, more than any year before, and five patients have died. Homosexuals are currently the most endangered group.

The IVZ urged Slovenians to take HIV tests in order not to "miss opportunities for a more successful early treatment."

Another Balkan country, Croatia, plans to organize a series of events in about 20 cities in the coming days to educate young people and others about AIDS, the official Hina news agency reported.

According to figures released by the Croatian Public Health Institute, there are now about 550 HIV-infected persons in Croatia. Men make up 80 percent of those infected.

Homosexuals are the highest risk group, making up 45 percent of those infected.

In Serbia, besides holding promotional campaigns, offering free HIV testing and medical counseling, institutions are also trying to call attention to the discrimination against the HIV-infected people.

Activists from human rights groups advocated adopting a general anti-discrimination law, the local B92 news website reported.

Source: Xinhua

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