UK has now one of fastest growing HIV epidemics in Europe

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The United Kingdom had one of the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses in Europe last year, outstripped only by Portugal, Ukraine, Estonia and Russia, according to a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control published this week in Eurosurveillance Weekly.

Figures compiled from HIV surveillance programmes showed that the UK had 148 new HIV diagnoses per million inhabitants in 2005, compared with 30 per million in Germany, 99 per million in France and 100 per million in Switzerland. Data were not available for Italy or Spain due to a lack of national reporting.

Glossary

harm reduction

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use (including safer use, managed use and abstinence). It is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.

lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

A sexually transmitted infection that can have serious consequences if left untreated. Symptoms include genital or rectal ulcers.

syphilis

A sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Transmission can occur by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sores may be found around the penis, vagina, or anus, or in the rectum, on the lips, or in the mouth, but syphilis is often asymptomatic. It can spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.

A larger scale version is also available here.

A recent international expert meeting in Stockholm highlighted the following challenges for HIV prevention in Europe:

  • Continuing high rates of undiagnosed HIV infection, especially in Eastern Europe
  • Lack of harm reduction for injecting drug users and need for massive scale up of harm reduction activities in the Baltic states (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia)
  • The need for a more coordinated approach to HIV prevention among gay men, given the growing evidence of transnational sexual networks by gay men in Western Europe, as demonstrated by recent syphilis and LGV outbreaks among HIV-positive men, and high rates of migration and travel between major cities such as London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris.
  • Prevention activities that target immigrant communities, both from outside and within the European Union.
References

FF Hamers. HIV/AIDS in Europe: trends and EU-wide priorities. Eurosurveillance 11 (11), 2006.

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