A World Health Organization report revealed the depths of desperation in economically ravaged Greece, with claims that half of all HIV cases in Greece are self-inflicted.
The WHO report, cited by Fox Business News and the Daily Mail, indicated that the distressed Greek economy is leading its citizens to extreme measures to gain 700 euros a month in health care benefits for drug addicts.
The WHO, however, has since said that the claim is inaccurate, and that the statement was the result of an editing error, the New York Times reported.
Media Matters for America, a left-wing nonprofit organization, wrote that “the WHO report is incorrect” in a posting on Monday after studying the citation.
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World Health Organization spokesman Martin Donoghoe then released a statement Tuesday, stating that, “There is no evidence of people in Greece or anywhere else in Europe deliberately infecting themselves,” and claiming an editing error led to the misunderstanding.
The WHO report cited a study by the University Mental Health Research Institute that mentioned “the well-founded suspicion” that some problem drug users “are intentionally infected with HIV, because of the benefit that are entitled to [approximately 1,400 euros every two months].”
The report also noted that suicides soared by 17 percent in Greece between 2007 and 2009, and then another 25 percent in 2010, reaching 40 percent in the first half of 2011 as the crisis worsened. The unemployment rate in Greece is the highest in Europe, standing at 27.3 percent.
HIV is undisputedly on the rise in Greece, with drug-related cases eclipsing those from sex between men. A report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control last year cited the lack of prevention services, a result of the country’s disastrous economic situation.
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“The current economic turmoil will continue to have adverse effects on H.I.V. prevention not only in Greece, but also in other parts of Europe,” the report said.