On the eve of World AIDS Day, ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe release their annual HIV/AIDS surveillance report.
The data for 2011 show that more than 121 000 new HIV cases were reported in the WHO European Region, with more than 28 000 new infections in the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) – suggesting that it is vital to sustain HIV interventions even in times of economic austerity in order to curb the on-going HIV transmission across Europe.
The report HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2011 shows that in the EU/EEA, HIV is highly concentrated in key populations such as men who have sex with men, who account for the majority of cases, persons originating from countries with generalised HIV epidemics and people who inject drugs. The number of HIV infections among people who inject drugs remained fairly low across the EU/EEA (5% of HIV diagnoses in 2011) with a 40% decline between 2004 and 2011.
Risk assessment on the HIV situation in Greece
On the 30 November, ECDC is also publishing an in-depth risk assessment on the HIV situation in Greece that ECDC was tasked to do by the European Commission in April 2012. According to the request, the risk assessment focuses on all priority groups affected by HIV/AIDS and draws a complete picture of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Greece.
Presenting ECDC’s the assessment on the HIV situation in Greece during Forum on Public Health and Social Medicine held in Athens today, ECDC Director Marc Sprenger stressed: “In response to the current HIV outbreak among people who inject drugs in Athens, the Greek authorities have immediately prioritised the correct interventions. But given the magnitude of the on-going outbreak, concerted action is needed to expand needle and syringe programmes in Athens. If a scale-up is not achieved, it is likely that HIV transmission among people who inject drugs in Athens will continue and even accelerate – resulting in a long-term high prevalence of HIV. At this point, Greece has the possibility to invest in the prevention of HIV among people who inject drugs. The cost of prevention to avert HIV infections will be significantly less than the provision of treatment to those who become infected.”
Read the ECDC/WHO Press Release - Investing in HIV response essential to curb on-going HIV transmission in Europe.