SIECUS Logo

Support SIECUS!

Make sexuality education available to all.

Stay informed!

Sign up for SIECUS newsletters, updates, action alerts, and more!

Quick Links

PrEP
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Reports a Rise in HIV/AIDS Cases in Europe

On November 22, 2007, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) released new data reporting that the incidence of HIV/AIDS infections in Europe has nearly doubled since 1999.1  The ECDC reports that this increase could be due to an increase in HIV testing, an increase in the number of infections in Europe, an increase in the number of HIV-positive people migrating to Europe, or a combination of these factors.

Countries in the former Soviet Union have the highest infection rates in Europe, with 59,866 new HIV infections, or 210.8 infections per million in the last year.  Most of the HIV infections in this region were attributed to intravenous drug use (IDU) and heterosexual sex.2  The highest rate of HIV infection was observed in Estonia, with 504 people per million newly infected.  In 2001, 90 percent of infections in Estonia were attributed to IDU, which dropped to half as much by 2006.  Particularly high rates of HIV infection were also observed in Ukraine and Russia, with 288 infections per million and 275 infections per million last year, respectively.3

Incidence of HIV infection in Western and Central Europe, while not as high as Eastern Europe, has also risen.  Western Europe reported 25,241 newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection, or 82.5 persons infected with HIV per million, and Central Europe reported 1,805 newly diagnosed HIV cases, or 9.4 infections per million.4  More than half of the infections were attributed to heterosexual transmission, but there has also been an increase in HIV infections among men who have sex with men.  People migrating from countries with more generalized HIV epidemics have also contributed to rising incidences of HIV infection in the U.K. and France.5  

It is important to note that the ECDC data only includes the numbers of diagnosed HIV infections, and the actual numbers are expected to be much higher.  An estimated 1/3 of people living with HIV/AIDS in Europe do not know their status. “These people are less likely to take precautions against transmitting the virus, and are also unable to access treatment, and addressing this hidden epidemic is a priority for the ECDC,” said ECDC director Zsuzsanna Jakab.6  These new numbers point to the urgent need to uphold the recent commitments “to promote evidence-based prevention…[such as] comprehensive sexuality education” made by European Ministers and government representatives in the Bremen Declaration on Responsibility and Partnership-Together Against HIV/AIDS.7

References

  1. “Rise in HIV Cases in Europe,” BBC News, 23 November 2007, accessed 29 November 2007, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7109139.stm>.
  2. HIV/AIDS in Europe: Epidemiological Situation in 2006 and a New Framework for Surveillance (Eurosurveillance: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2007), accessed 29 November 2007, <http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2007/071122.asp#1>.
  3.   “Rise in HIV Cases,” BBC News.
  4.   HIV/AIDS in Europe (ECDC).
  5.   “Rise in HIV Cases,” BBC News.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Bremen Declaration on Responsibility and Partnership-Together Against HIV/AIDS, 13 March 2007, accessed 29 November 2007, <http://www.eu2007.de/en/News/download_docs/Maerz/0312-BSGV/070Bremen.pdf>.

Email a Friend Print this Page Give us your feedback
National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education