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