Eastern Europe is experiencing a rise in HIV diagnoses.
A new report by the World Health Organization says that the HIV epidemic is not over yet, and states that numbers are increasing in certain regions.
This report was published in time for the 30th World AIDS Day, and focuses on Europe. The report signifies how far we’ve come with the fight against the disease and notes how much farther we have yet to go.
The results most noted how the eastern part of Europe has seen the highest number of HIV diagnoses ever. 130,000 new diagnoses were recorded in the year of 2017.
That said, it’s not all bad news as the WHO also noted how the increase is not very steep. Plus, the European Union and European Economic Area countries are seeing a decline in rates by 20% since 2015.
Despite this, the WHO’s concerns are focused on the East of Europe.
“It’s hard to talk about good news in the face of another year of unacceptably high numbers of people infected with HIV. 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. My call to governments, ministers of health and decision-makers is bold: scale up your response now,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “To support people living with HIV and protect those at higher risk of infection, we need to fast track action by tailoring interventions. This means investing wisely in prevention, testing and treatment particularly in key populations to end the AIDS epidemic as we promised.”
Other findings from this new report include:
- Men are suffering disproportionately from HIV across the entire Region: 70% of new HIV diagnoses are in men.
- In 2017, over 25 000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 30 of the 31 countries of the EU/EEA.
- The overall decline in the EU/EEA resulted primarily from a 20% drop in new diagnoses among men who have sex with men between 2015 and 2017, which remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission (38% in 2017) in this part of Europe.
In reaction to these results, the World Health Organization urges national governments to work on improving accessibility and awareness of HIV testing. Their argument is that knowing statuses is one of the most important, and the very first, steps in ending HIV.
“A lot of progress has been made, but there is still much more we must do,” said Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. “We need to capitalize on the full potential of our joint and sustained actions, as well as increased collaboration with our partners across borders if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating HIV – in Europe and worldwide – by 2030.”
To read the full report from the World Health Organization, click this link here.