Trends in new diagnoses

Across the WHO European Region (which includes Russia and Central Asia), the annual number of new HIV diagnoses is still increasing. By 2017 the rate had risen to 20 per 100 000 population (159 420) – the highest since reporting began in the 1980s. In the same year, the cumulative number of diagnosed infections in the European Region reached 2 332 391, about half of which were in Russia where the rate was 71 per 100 000, the highest in the Region.

Population groups most at risk

In the WHO European Region, heterosexual contact is the main transmission route for HIV, with 49% of infections newly diagnosed in 2017 acquired this way. 21% of infections were acquired through sex between men, 13% through injecting drug use and 0.7% through mother-to-child transmission. (Information about transmission mode was unknown or missing for 15% of new diagnoses.) Across the Region these proportions vary greatly from country to country. In the EU/EEA, sex between men is still the main reported HIV transmission route, accounting for 38% of all notified HIV diagnoses in 2017 and for more than 60% of new diagnoses in 10 countries. The maps show this diversity.

Undiagnosed HIV and late diagnosis

The continuing spread of HIV is being fuelled by infection which is undiagnosed and untreated. The higher the proportion of people with HIV who are diagnosed late, the more opportunity there is for HIV transmission to occur. Yet, over half (53%) of people living with HIV in Europe are diagnosed late. This is one reason why earlier diagnosis and access to treatment is so important.

For more on undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV, see Why is testing for HIV important?

Click here to view an ECDC video summarising facts about HIV in the European Union (1 min 33 secs)


Source: ECDC

Targets to end the epidemic

The ’90-90-90′ targets set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) aim, by 2020, for 90% of all people living with HIV (PLHIV) to be aware of their status; 90% of those diagnosed to be receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART); and 90% of those on ART to be virally suppressed (that is, of all people with HIV in a given population, at least 73% to be receiving effective treatment). Modelling suggests that achieving these targets is necessary to eliminate the AIDS epidemic.

Europe falls significantly short of these targets , especially in the East sub-region – see graphs showing 2018 status. Graphs for individual countries in 2016 can be found in Annex 1 (page 17) of this ECDC report.

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