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A sharp rise in registered HIV infections has been detected in Lithuania after investigation of an outbreak affecting prisoners in a particular prison. Between January and May 2002, a total of 230 infections were registered (figure 1). After the first diagnosis of HIV infection in the country in 1988, the number of registered HIV infections increased gradually until the end of 2001. In contrast in the neighboring countries of Latvia and Estonia, totals of 2006 infections and 2396 infections respectively had been registered by 15 May 2002. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, many common factors have been influencing HIV transmission in the former Soviet republics, among them a dramatic increase in drug misuse, a worsening economic situation, and increased unemployment.


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