Unlinked anonymous monitoring of human immunodeficiency virus prevalence in high- and low-risk groups in Slovenia, 1993-2002

Croat Med J. 2003 Oct;44(5):545-9.


Aim: To determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in high-risk groups, ie, injecting drug users, patients with sexually transmitted infections, and men who have sex with men, and compare it with the prevalence determined in low-risk group, ie, pregnant women.

Methods: Residual sera from specimens obtained from patients with sexually transmitted infections and pregnant women were sampled in syphilis serology laboratories. Saliva specimens were voluntarily obtained from injecting drug users entering methadone maintenance program and once per year from men who have sex with men, at one of their meeting sites. Specimens were labeled only with the type of sentinel population, sampling year, sentinel site code, sex, and age group. Specimens were frozen and stored at -20 degrees C and tested annually for anti-HIV antibodies.

Results: A cumulative total of 1,172 saliva specimens were collected from injecting drug users during 1995-2002, 774 saliva specimens from men who have sex with men during 1996-2002, 6,612 serum specimens from patients with sexually transmitted infections during 1993-2002, and 49,652 serum specimens from pregnant women during 1993-2002. The national annual HIV prevalence estimates for injecting drug users varied between 0% and 0.7% in 2000, for men who have sex with men between 0% in 2002 and 3.4% in 1998, and for patients with sexually transmitted infections from 0% (most calendar years) to 0.5% in 1995. Among specimens obtained from pregnant women, only one tested anti-HIV positive (in 1999), so the prevalence estimate was 0.01% for the particular year.

Conclusion: The prevalence of HIV infection in low-risk heterosexual population is very low and has consistently remained below 5% in all groups with high-risk behavior, including men who have sex with men, who are the most affected population group in Slovenia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seroprevalence / trends
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Slovenia / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / virology