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Gay capital reeling with rising HIV infection

The gay capital? of the world, San Francisco is now reeling under the shock waves of a rebound epidemic of HIV infection. In the past one-year the rate of infection has actually doubled in most areas and in some select high-risk pockets of gay men, who are also intra venous drug users, the rates are even higher. And what is the cause for this sudden spurt?

Hold your breath! The successful control of spread of HIV infection in the area has made the high risk gay men lower their guard and the virus has struck back with a vengeance. Aggressive prevention programmes, safe sex and sex education drives promoting condoms had all resulted in a sharp fall in incidence a few years ago. But now the ghost is back and it is vigorously claiming fresh victims at an alarming pace.

Health workers say the lackluster attitude of high-risk gay men is the main cause of this sudden spurt. There is very poor willingness to use condoms and the false sense of having outsmarted the AIDS virus has led to general feeling that people need not be careful anymore. This is the culprit behind the spurt, authorities say.

Known as the gay capital, San Francisco was the first few centers of the AIDS epidemic and more than half of the city?s gay men were positive in the 1980s. More than 18000 people have died of AIDS in San Francisco.

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