November 30, 2012
STOCKHOLM/COPENHAGEN (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) -- A continued upsurge in HIV infections in Europe highlights the need -- despite austerity measures -- to sustain funding to test, treat and prevent HIV transmission, two European health agencies said Friday.
In 2011, there were more than 121,000 new HIV cases reported in Europe -- of which more than 67,000 cases were recorded in Russia.
That represented roughly 3,000 more cases than reported in 2010, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm and the European office of the World Health Organization, which is based in Copenhagen.
The report was released on the eve of World Aids Day, December 1.
It said that over three quarters of new HIV new infections were in the eastern part of the European region.
Other findings suggested that about half of those diagnosed with HIV do not learn of their HIV status early enough to begin the most effective treatment. AIDS cases and deaths in Eastern Europe and Central Asia were increasing due to late diagnosis and low treatment rates, the agencies said.
"Only one patient in four receives the needed antiretroviral treatment in the eastern part of the (European) region, a rate that is among the lowest in the world," WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab said.
The European office of the UN agency covers 53 European countries.
"Every euro spent on the HIV response now will be largely paid back with the savings on future treatment costs, not counting the societal gains by keeping people healthy and productive," she added.
The two agencies said 28,000 new HIV cases were reported in the European Union and the non-EU countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein -- all of which, together, form the European Economic Area -- and there was no sign of a decrease in transmission rates.
In the EU/EAA area, high risk groups included homosexual men as well as intravenous drug users.
Investing in HIV counselling and testing was necessary "to reduce and prevent further transmission of HIV across Europe," ECDC director Marc Sprenger said.
Countries that reported more than 20 HIV cases per 100,000 inhabitants were Ukraine (38.0), Estonia (27.3), San Marino (25.6) and Moldova (20.3).
The ECDC and WHO report said specific data for Russia, Uzbekistan and Monaco were not included.
Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH