theguardian.com, Tuesday 26 November 2013 09.53 EST
The World Health Organisation has apologised and blamed an “editing error” for claiming in a September report that half of the new HIV cases in Greece were acquired deliberately by people trying to claim government benefits.
In a correction issued on Tuesday, the WHO said the report should have read that “few” new cases of HIV are deliberate.
“This was just a gross editing error for which the WHO apologises,” said a WHO spokesman, Gregory Härtl.
In the report published by the WHO’s European office, the agency wrote that “about half of new HIV infections are being self-inflicted”.
WHO said it only became aware of the mistake on Tuesday after journalists asked about the claim.
Since the financial crisis first hit Greece several years ago, rates of HIV infection have soared.