MILAN, Italy, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Italy has a new HIV infection every three hours on average, the national department of health said in a statement during the World AIDS Day commemoration Thursday.
According to the statement, there were about 3,000 new infections in the country in 2010, with nearly one third of those affecting a foreigner.
At least 157,000 people are presently estimated to be HIV-positive in Italy, though the country's AIDS infections and deaths continue to register a negative trend.
Nearly 90 percent of the new patients acquired the virus through unprotected sex, and were mostly from the northern regions.
People discovered to be HIV-positive in 2010 had an average age of 39 for men and 35 for women, more than a third of whom were diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, the statement said.
Misinformation and a lack of preventive measures are a great cause for concern, Milan's councillor for social services and health Pierfrancesco Majorino told Xinhua at a campaign launched in Milan's La Scala Square.
"We have to keep in mind that AIDS is something very close to each of us, and adopt all most effective campaigns to provide complete and correct information," he said.
A red ribbon -- the international symbol of AIDS awareness -- was formed by a group of people at the center of the square to remind everyone to stay alert to the disease.
On World AIDS Day, disease prevention and health information campaigns were launched throughout Italy, including free ultra-rapid HIV-screening tests.
Special Report: World AIDS Day 2011