Press release: Action needed to address the "hidden epidemic" of HIV/AIDS: results of workshop on HIV Prevention

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One in every three persons infected with HIV in the European Union are unaware that they are HIV positive, and this figure is likely to be much higher in some of the countries neighbouring the EU.

One in every three persons infected with HIV in the European Union are unaware that they are HIV positive, and this figure is likely to be much higher in some of the countries neighbouring the EU.   A meeting of national HIV/AIDS coordinators from the 25 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania yesterday concluded that confronting the “hidden epidemic” of HIV was one of the key challenges for HIV prevention in Europe.  People unaware of their HIV positive status are more likely to pass on the virus to others, as well as missing the opportunity to receive antiviral treatments that can help stop HIV developing into AIDS. 

The meeting, hosted in Stockholm on 2 and 3 October by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), also identified renewed prevention efforts aimed at men who have sex with men and migrants as key priorities, along with addressing the HIV epidemic in the Baltic States and developing indicators to measure the success of HIV prevention efforts.  The results of the 2-3 October workshop will now be considered by the participating countries, as well as ECDC, the European Commission and its Think Tank on HIV/AIDS, WHO and UNAIDS.  They will feed in to a major conference on HIV Prevention being hosted by the German Presidency of the EU on 12-13 March 2007 in Bremen.