Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Medical | By Mark Scott

New cases of HIV rise in Eastern Europe, decline in the West

New cases of HIV rise in Eastern Europe, decline in the West

Although infections tend to occur as a result of behaviours initiated during adolescence, the HIV diagnosis tends to be established at a later stage.

"With an estimated 8,000 people still unaware of their infection it is vital that people seek out an HIV test if they consider themselves at risk, or accept the offer of an HIV test by a healthcare professional, as early diagnosis is key to stopping transmission".

- How many people have the virus?

According to the document, as far as Eastern Europe is concerned, "when combining data from the Russian Federation within data reported by the other 12 countries on people for whom the mode of HIV transmission was known, heterosexual transmission accounted for 59% of new diagnoses, transmission through injecting drug use for 37%, sex between men for 3% and mother-to-child transmission for 0.5%".

Quoted in the communiqué, Lisbon City Council's Social Rights Councilor, Manuel Grilo (BE), stresses that "it is crucial to increase the visibility of the HIV issue and to encourage people to do regular screening".

- What is a "viral load"? Of those, 98% are on treatment, and 97% of those on treatment are virally suppressed, meaning HIV is undetectable in their blood.

Over the course of the last three decades, over 2.32 million people have been diagnosed and reported with HIV in the WHO European Region, including over 650 000 people in the EU/EEA.

HIV diagnoses are falling in the European Union and European Economic Area, thanks to more widespread testing, fast treatment and the roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Men are suffering disproportionately from HIV across the entire Region: 70% of new HIV diagnoses are in men.

"People with HIV have a near-normal life expectancy if diagnosed early and treated promptly".

- What do health officials say?

The minister said that the government is committed to make honest efforts for increasing the access to and uptake of HIV preventive and treatment services by engaging with all stakeholders to promote HIV awareness and minimize stigma and discrimination against HIV.

- Data collated from NHS Choices, Public Health England and the Terrance Higgins Trust.

'Now in the United Kingdom, nearly everyone with HIV is not only diagnosed and in treatment but living long, healthy lives - and we're one of just a handful of countries to meet these ambitious UN targets'.

More than 130,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV previous year in Eastern Europe, the highest rate ever for the region, while the number of new cases in Western Europe declined, global public health experts said on Wednesday.

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