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It is certainly true that, when reading the UNAIDS statistics, Svalbard seems to stand out as having no reported cases of HIV and AIDS; but this probably is not as strange as it may at first seem. What isolated statistical facts like this fail tell you is that Svalbard is an isolated Arctic archipelago with a population of only around 2,400 people (a large proportion of whom are only temporary residents, with a permanent residence elsewhere in Norway or Russia). Even if Svalbard had exactly the same prevalence of HIV as the rest of Norway (of which it is a part), then you would statistically only expect to find less than one person there who was living with HIV. If just one person there became infected with HIV, then Svalbard would suddenly stand out as having a higher prevalence of HIV than the rest of Norway. You may also want to consider whether or not a person with a chronically weakened immune system would actually choose to live permanently in a remote place with very limited medical facilities, average summer teperatures of just 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) and where most employment opportunities are in the physically demanding industries of coal mining and fishing. I certainly would not.

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2007-08-16 07:27:04
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Q: Why is there no HIV or AIDS in Svalbard?
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