There was a meme going around yesterday that Greeks were giving themselves HIV en masse in order to get government benefits.
ZeroHedge, for example, ran a piece titled: "Half Of New Greek HIV Cases Are Self-Inflicted To Receive €700 Per Month Benefits, Study Finds."
It was all over Twitter, too.
It turns out that this factoid was the result of some bad editing from a report by the World Health Organization.
In September 2013, the WHO Regional Office for Europe published a report “Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European Region” which was prepared by the Institute of Equity, University College London, United Kingdom. In this report, an erroneous reference is made to: “HIV rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new HIV infections being self-inflicted to enable people to receive benefits of €700 per month and faster admission on to drug substitution programmes.”
The sentence should read: "half of the new HIV cases are self-injecting and out of them few are deliberately inflicting the virus". The statement is the consequence of an error in the editing of the document, for which WHO apologizes.
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