Europe now has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, due in large part to intravenous drug use, the World Health Organization told the International AIDS Conference in Vienna Wednesday.

The epidemic is disproportionately affecting Eastern Europe, which accounts for about 80 percent of the more than 100,000 new HIV infections reported in Europe in 2008.

“The situation in Eastern Europe is very volatile,” said Martin Donoghoe, program manager for WHO’s Europe HIV/AIDS office. “The dominant HIV transmission route in the East is injection drug use.”

In some countries in the region an estimated 50 percent of all HIV infected individuals are injecting drug users, or IDUs, a population that is particularly hard to reach and serve with prevention and treatment efforts. HIV treatment levels in Eastern Europe are also some of the lowest in the world, Donoghoe said, because drug users are “highly marginalized.”

Read more →

Comments are closed.

Image preload Image preload