Eastern Europe has fastest-growing HIV infection rate worldwide

Awareness Politicians in Leinster House show how easy HIV testing can be to promote World Aids Day

Awareness Politicians in Leinster House show how easy HIV testing can be to promote World Aids Day

The rate of new HIV infections reached a decade-long high in Europe past year, raising an "alarm bell" ahead of the 30th anniversary of World Aids Day on Saturday.

The latest data from PHE suggests that as a result of treatment, 87% of all people living with HIV in Britain had an undetectable viral load.

"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".

Nearly 160,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Europe a year ago, with three-quarters of the new cases arising in Ukraine and Russian Federation, two European health agencies said on November 28.

"We live in a context necessarily different from the imaginary of many people, since the treatments are very effective today".

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

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"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.

The increase in new HIV diagnoses continued for the WHO European Region as a whole, but its pace was slower than in previous years. Every second, the disease was in an advanced stage, when she was diagnosed. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of diagnoses in Eastern Europe had increased by 95 percent; between 2008 and 2017, the increase was only 68 percent.

Most people infected with HIV suffer a short, flu-like illness that occurs between two and six weeks after they are infected. For this reason, all the people should with a possible risk of infection regularly get tested for HIV, even if you feel healthy.

HIV prevention methods in the United Kingdom include: condom provision, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), expanded HIV testing and prompt initiation of antiretroviral therapy after diagnosis. This target calls for 90% of people living with HIV to be diagnosed, that 90% of people diagnosed are receiving antiretroviral therapy and 90% of people on treatment are virally suppressed and unable to pass on the infection. There was also a reduction in diagnoses attributed to heterosexual transmissions involving people from countries with generalised HIV epidemics.

In a report published on 29 November 2018, PHE said the UK had met all of the targets set by the UN to promote HIV prevention, adding that the UK should "identify new priorities that, if achieved, could accelerate the falls in HIV transmission that are well underway".

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