AIDS proves stubborn in Europe as new HIV infections rise

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) – Some 131,000 people were newly infected with HIV in Europe and nearby countries in 2012, an 8 percent rise from a year earlier and a worrying reversal of a recent downward trend in AIDS cases in the West. A report published by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European office and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed a steady increase in new HIV cases over the last year, but by far the majority of cases were in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “The high and increasing number of AIDS cases in the East is indicative of late HIV diagnosis, low treatment coverage and delayed initiation of life-saving HIV treatment,” the ECDC/WHO report said. While reported AIDS cases had been declining steadily in western Europe – dropping 48 percent between 2006 and 2012 – in the east of the WHO’s European Region, which includes many Asian former Soviet republics, the number of people newly diagnosed with AIDS increased by 113 percent.
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