Autoimmune Diseases
Immune System

Why is there no HIV or AIDS in Svalbard?

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Wiki User
2007-08-16 07:27:04

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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