United Nations chief calls for more efforts to prevent new AIDS infections

State medical and health authorities have started community based HIV testing based on the theme formulated by the United Nations

Epidemic: HIV Rates Keep Rising in Eastern Europe

The overall decline in the EU/EEA resulted primarily from a 20% drop in new diagnoses among men who have sex with men between 2015 and 2017, which remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission (38% in 2017) in this part of Europe. The reports were highest in the Eastern European region at 130,000.

The rate in the East - 51.1 new cases diagnosed per 100,000 people - was "disproportionately higher" than in the West, which had a rate of 6.4 new cases per 100,000 people, the reportfound.

Against the UN's 90-90-90 targets (that 90% of those living with HIV are diagnosed; 90% of people diagnosed were receiving treatment; and 90% of those being treated were virally suppressed), in 2017, 92% of people living with HIV in the United Kingdom had been diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed were receiving treatment and 97% of people receiving treatment were virally suppressed.

To date, provisional figures for 2018 indicate that there have been 459 new HIV diagnoses in Ireland, 26 ahead of this time previous year, which equates to over ten new infections per week.

The Report covered Region consists of 53 countries, where altogether nearly 900 million people live.

"Where human rights for LGBT (people) are not accepted, and are not free and protected for everyone, there can not be efficient HIV prevention", Yoursky said.

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WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab has called forth the governments to "scale up" their responses. "We do not have many of these in Eastern European countries as opposed to Western Europe", he said, adding that early testing for HIV needs to be in place, as well as treatment.

In a report published on 29 November 2018, PHE said the UK had met all of the targets set by the UN to promote HIV prevention, adding that the UK should "identify new priorities that, if achieved, could accelerate the falls in HIV transmission that are well underway".

Dr. Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society, said there needs to be a focus on removing stigma that surrounds HIV diagnosis.

Dr Claire Neill, specialist registrar with the PHA, said: "Many people living with HIV have no obvious signs or symptoms, so the only way of knowing if you have the virus is by taking a HIV test". "Policies that reduce social marginalisation, stigma and discrimination are needed as are increased funding for prevention and testing..." A lot of progress has been made, but there is still much more we must do. This is the largest number of HIV diagnoses, which was ever pronounced in the Region. "It is important for our public health services to support easy and affordable access to testing and medical care for vulnerable groups at risk of HIV infection".

"People who inject drugs account for the largest proportion of new diagnoses of any key population at 48.8% but heterosexual sex may soon overtake injecting drug use as the main means of HIV transmission", he said.

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