HIV diagnoses at all-time high in Eastern Europe, report says "Many of us will remember a time when an HIV positive result was effectively a death sentence". The amount of contemporary HIV diagnoses in the area resumed escalating in 2017, but the momentum of the stride of the growth is decelerating according to the report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
"We live in a context necessarily different from the imaginary of many people, since the treatments are very effective today".
The increase in HIV cases across Eastern Europe is mostly attributed to the insufficiency of preventive measures, Masoud Dara of WHO Europe revealed. Many countries fail to recognize that raising awareness among young people and offering them better access to early HIV testing are critical.
"It is hard to speak of good news, if one looks to another year with unacceptable high probability of paying back", says Zsuzsanna Jakap, Director of the WHO Regional Office Europe. "To support people living with HIV and protect those at higher risk of infection, we need to fast track action by tailoring interventions".
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Public Health England (PHE) has hailed the UK's efforts to prevent the spread of HIV a success, as the number of new patients diagnosed with the infection continues to decline. "Once diagnosed, individuals are less likely to pass on their infection due to treatment and changing their behaviour, so it is essential for both the person with HIV and anyone with whom they may have sex, that the condition is diagnosed early".
However, this is outweighed by the fact that last year's numbers ballooned to 160,000 new cases, with 130,000 coming from Eastern Europe, a record high for the region. World Health Organization says that within the European Union, new diagnoses actually fell.
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.
In 2017, over 25 000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 30 of the 31 countries of the EU/EEA. It is estimated that the majority of onward transmission is from those with undiagnosed HIV. The predominant modes of transmission in these countries were heterosexual transmission and transmission through injecting drug use.
Another recent milestone towards ending AIDS is the United Nations Common Position on Ending HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis through Intersectoral Collaboration launched at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September 2018.