Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Medicine | By Ray Hunter

Eastern Europe has fastest-growing HIV infection rate worldwide

Eastern Europe has fastest-growing HIV infection rate worldwide

"We all need to realize our responsibilities and the critical role we all have to play to make Pakistan HIV free", the minister said while addressing a Seminar in connection with World AIDS Day.

The aim is segment of the Sustainable Development Goal of discarding HIV in Europe and globally by 2030. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of diagnoses in Eastern Europe had increased by 95 percent; between 2008 and 2017, the increase was only 68 percent.

Transmission rates fell 20 percent between 2015 and 2017 among men having sex with men in the region, according to the World Health Organization data. "This was the only population in the EU/EEA that experienced constant increases in reported HIV cases during the past decade", stresses ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. This allows rapid linkage to care and immediate start of antiretroviral treatment for those tested positive and wider uptake of evidencebased prevention such as pre-exposure prophylaxis.

The number of new HIV diagnoses has decreased as treatment rates increase, though efforts still needed to promote early detection. While efforts to prevent new HIV infections are gradually showing signs of progress, we are not on course to meet the 90-90-90 targets by the 2020 deadline.

"We are quite far behind achieving those targets, particularly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia", said Dara. Adolescents' vulnerability is also signalled by a region-wide ART coverage rate of just 37 per cent among all people living with HIV over the age of 14, a rate far below the global one of 59 per cent.

The 53 countries in WHO's European region have a combined population of almost 900 million.

This message you have received in the past year, more than 130,000 people in Eastern Europe. Every second person diagnosed with HIV has already reached an advanced stage in the infection. In Western and Eastern Europe, nearly 160,000 people were together in 2017, a new HIV diagnosis.

The figures are drastically different within the European Union, though, when compared with the eastern part of the region. Data need to be carefully considered as they depend on the transmission mode reported by the individuals.

Activists blame widespread discrimination against LGBT+ people for an eight-fold rise in transmission among men having sex with men, to more than 1,000 cases annually. There was also a reduction in diagnoses attributed to heterosexual transmissions involving people from countries with generalised HIV epidemics. That left Europe's overall increasing trend less steep than previously.

The overall trend suggested the European region would not achieve the United Nations target of eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood.

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