In the Independent article, ‘The Women Greece Blames for its HIV Crisis’ as well as detailing the plight of Greek women made desperate for money so that they turn to prostitution, it also describes a situation where funding for needle exchange programmes are being cut. This causes fewer drug users to have access to clean needles and hence a 1,450 per cent increase in HIV positive addicts.
The article quotes Dr Apostolos Veizis, head of Medicins San Frontieres in Greece,
“At the moment of crisis, the one thing you don’t need to do is cut the budget on the public healthcare system and a social welfare,” says Dr Veizis, warning that it will end up backfiring. “If you have tomorrow a spreading of tuberculosis, HIV, etcetera, the cost you need to pay to treat your patients will be even higher.”
In Britain, we are not yet in such dire straits as in Greece, with less stringent austerity measures. However, the principle still applies that simply cutting costs, and not just in healthcare, in any service, will lead to higher costs in the medium to long term.