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Nov 26, 2015 11:19 AM EST

Highest HIV cases in Europe ever, WHO reports

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The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it had recorded the highest number of new HIV cases in its European Region in 2014, since it started reporting in the 1980s, Reuters reports.

The WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control issued the statement on Thursday.

The statement followed publication of a report by the United Nations AIDS program that said that new HIV infections had fallen by 35 percent since 2000.

"Despite all the efforts to fight HIV, this year the European Region has reached over 142 000 new HIV infections, the highest number ever. This is a serious concern", says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

"With all the evidence on HIV prevention and control, including new treatment guidelines, we call on European countries to take bold action and curb the HIV epidemic once and for all".

"Since 2004, the rates of new diagnoses have more than doubled in some EU and EEA countries and decreased by 25% in others. But the overall HIV epidemic persists largely unchanged", points out ECDC Acting Director Andrea Ammon.

"This means that the HIV response in the EU and EEA has not been effective enough to result in a noticeable decline over the last decade."

The statement added that the increase in the HIV patients was from its eastern sector of Europe that includes 15 countries including Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia.

"Heterosexual transmission is responsible for the increase in eastern Europe, and transmission through drug injection remains substantial," the joint statement by the WHO and ECDC said.

"In the EU and the EEA, sex between men is the predominant mode of HIV transmission. Two in three new HIV infections are among native-born Europeans," the organizations said.

In the European Union generally, the number of people diagnosed with HIV remained mostly unchanged over the past decade, ECDC's Daamen said.

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Tags HIV, europe
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