HIV diagnoses at all-time high in Eastern Europe

State medical and health authorities have started community based HIV testing based on the theme formulated by the United Nations

Epidemic: HIV Rates Keep Rising in Eastern Europe

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe have published the latest data on HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe.

The figures are drastically different within the European Union, though, when compared with the eastern part of the region. One reason for the persistent HIV epidemic in Europe is that late diagnosis remains a challenge across the whole Region.

More than 51 people per 100,000 contracted the disease - a rate that was "disproportionately higher" than in the West, which saw 6.4 new cases per 100,000 people. While unprotected male homosexual sexual intercourses remain the main cause of transmission in European Union and European Economic Area, intravenous drug use and heterosexual sex was the main mode of HIV transmission in Eastern Europe, the report stated.

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. But more can be done - an estimated 43% of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were made at a late stage of infection, the United Kingdom figures showed.

Dr Claire Neill, Specialist Registrar with the PHA, said: "Many people living with HIV have no obvious signs or symptoms, so the only way of knowing if you have the virus is by taking a test". Participants expressed governments' firm commitment to scale up efforts to implement the Action Plan for the Health Sector Response to HIV in the WHO European Region and achieve the 90-90-90 targets.

In order to meet the target, new infections would need to decline by 78% by 2020, the report said. "This means investing wisely in prevention, testing and treatment particularly in key populations to end the AIDS epidemic as we promised".

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The minister said that every effort would be made to protect the people from carrying HIV /AIDS. The medical and scientific community has come to consensus that an individual living with HIV can become "untransmittable" - meaning there is no risk of them sexually transmitting the virus - if they achieve an undetectable viral load through HIV treatment.

This World AIDS Day we call for recognition that negative judgment and feelings about HIV are intertwined and tangled up with racism, transphobia and homophobia.

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.

"Policies that reduce social marginalisation, stigma and discrimination are needed as are increased funding for prevention and testing", Pozniak said in a statement.

The number of Russian men who were infected with HIV through having sex with another man more than doubled to 695 between 2008 and 2015, according to official data.

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