Europe’s HIV epidemic is growing at an ‘alarming pace’

  • Around 160,000 people contracted HIV in 53 European countries last year 
  • In 2007 the rate of newly-diagnosed HIV infections was 12 in every 100,000
  • This rose by 52% to 18.2 per 100,000 people in 2016; the report did not say why
  • Eastern Europe is driving the ‘upward trend’, making up around 80% of cases
  • Past research suggests eastern Europe has poor HIV prevention programmes 

Europe’s HIV epidemic is growing at an ‘alarming pace’ as infections reached their highest level in 2016 since records began, health officials reveal today.

Last year, around 160,000 people contracted HIV, which causes AIDS, in 53 European countries, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Over the past decade, the rate of newly-diagnosed HIV infections in Europe has risen by 52 per cent from 12 in every 100,000 people in 2007 to 18.2 for every 100,000 in 2016, the report adds.

According to the report, this increase was ‘mainly driven by the continuing upward trend in the East’, which accounts for around 80 per cent of Europe’s cases.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, European regional director of the WHO, said: ‘This is the highest number of cases recorded in one year. If this trend persists, we will not be able to achieve the target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.’

Past findings suggest HIV rates are rising in eastern Europe, particularly in those over 50 who inject illegal drugs, due to a lack of awareness campaigns on the infection’s risks or how to prevent transmission.

'Europe needs to do more in its HIV response' 

Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC, said, 'Europe needs to do more in its HIV response,' adding the average time from infection to diagnosis is three years 'which is far too long'.

Read more here