New cases of HIV rise in Eastern Europe, decline in the West

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Since the beginning of the Aids epidemic in the eighties have been infected worldwide, more than 77 million people living with HIV.

In Russia, official data show there were more than 104,000 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, taking total cases to more than 1.2 million.

Moreover, the rate per 100,000 people was much higher in Eastern Europe - 51.1 - than the 6.4 per 100,000 in Western Europe, the report said.

The HIV outbreak in Europe is still developing at a frightening pace chiefly in Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, the report also found that new HIV diagnoses continued to decline, falling 17% from 5,280 in 2016 to 4,363 in 2017.

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.

The WHO's European Region is made up of 53 countries with a combined population of almost 900 million.

Dr. Masoud Dara, coordinator of communicable diseases and HIV team lead at WHO Europe said that we are quite behind in obtaining those targets especially in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Life expectancy can be near-normal if diagnosed early and treated promptly. Although infections tend to occur as a result of behaviours initiated during adolescence, the HIV diagnosis tends to be established at a later stage. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more successful treatment is likely to be, so it is very important to get tested if you think there's a chance that you might have contracted HIV. Adolescents' vulnerability is also signalled by a region-wide ART coverage rate of just 37 per cent among all people living with HIV over the age of 14, a rate far below the global one of 59 per cent. Injecting drugs and heterosexual intercourse are the most common reasons for the transmission of the disease in this region.

"It's hard to talk about good news in the face of another year of unacceptably high numbers of people infected with HIV", said Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of the World Health Organization regional office.

The Chamber of the capital will launch on Wednesday the campaign "stop HIV is in our hands", with the aim of "increasing the knowledge of the population" regarding the prevention and transmission of the AIDS virus.

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".