Alarm raised as HIV rates on rise

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The highest rates of newly diagnosed HIV infections were observed in Russian Federation in 2017, the World Health Organization's European office and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said in a report published on Wednesday, TASS reports.

The latest data from PHE suggests that as a result of treatment, 87% of all people living with HIV in Britain had an undetectable viral load.

"We need to unite to avert a full-blown HIV epidemic by taking immediate preventive measures, encourage HIV testing and treatment, and addressing HIV associated stigma and discrimination to reduce the number of new HIV infections".

The "HIV surveillance in Northern Ireland 2018" report also shows that 84 new first-UK cases of HIV were diagnosed here in 2017.

Most new cases in the former Soviet Union in 2017 were from heterosexual sex as the disease spreads beyond high-risk groups, according to research by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

"We live in a context necessarily different from the imaginary of many people, since the treatments are very effective today".

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The 53 countries in WHO's European region have 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. It is important not to delay if you have put yourself at risk.

The latest figures from PHE show that in 2017, 92% of people living with HIV in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed were on treatment, and 97% of those on treatment were virally suppressed. Many countries fail to recognize that raising awareness among young people and offering them better access to early HIV testing are critical.

Also in Germany, an estimated 13,000 people with HIV who are unaware of their infection. "Once diagnosed, individuals are less likely to pass on their infection due to treatment and changing their behaviour, so it is essential for both the person with HIV and anyone with whom they may have sex, that the condition is diagnosed early". 31 (41%) new HIV diagnoses were made at a late stage.

In the rest of the former Soviet Union, new cases of infected drug users have fallen 45 percent to 6,218 a year in a decade, while new cases of heterosexual transmission increased 59 percent to nearly 18,000.

"The increasing trend in new HIV diagnoses continued for the Region overall, despite decreasing rates of new diagnoses in the EU/EEA", the executive summary posted on the ECPCD website reads.