Europe's HIV Infection Rate Has Doubled Since 2000

On World AIDS Day, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) and the World Health Organization issued a report indicating that the rate of HIV infection in Europe nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007.

"One challenge faced by all countries is that many of the people living with HIV are unaware that they are infected," said ECDPC Director Zsuzsanna Jakab. A further challenge is that the groups most affected vary from country to country, meaning prevention must be approached differently in different settings.

According to the report, Europe's annual rate of new HIV diagnoses rose to 75 per 1 million people in 2007 from 39 per 1 million people in 2000. Forty-nine European nations logged a total of 48,892 new HIV cases in 2007. Among the report's findings:

  • In all of Eastern Europe, injection drug use was the chief route of HIV transmission.
  • The highest rates of new infections were found in Estonia, Ukraine, Portugal, and the Republic of Moldova.
  • High rates were also noted in Latvia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, Belarus, and Switzerland.
  • Sex between heterosexuals was the main route of transmission in Central and Western Europe, though infections among men who have sex with men were rising as well.
  • Of heterosexually transmitted cases, about 40 percent were found among people originating from nations with generalized HIV epidemics.

Due to incomplete data, Austria, Italy, Monaco, and Russia were excluded from the study.