The likelihood that a person with HIV living in Europe will be on antiretroviral therapy or have a suppressed viral load may depend on their transmission category and/or their geographical location, a study published in AIDS showed. The study focused on people who fall within one of three transmission categories: heterosexuals, men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who inject drugs (PWID).
In Western and Northern Europe, antiretroviral use was more common among those who had acquired HIV through heterosexual contact than among MSM or PWID. Conversely, in Eastern Europe, more MSM than the other two categories received antiretrovirals. Across the continent, PWID were least likely to be on antiretroviral therapy or to be virologically suppressed compared to the other two groups.
Study authors cautioned that because of restrictive policies in some countries regarding MSM and PID, people within these communities may have been misclassified. In addition, all 12,872 participants were in HIV care at specific clinics; this may have undercounted some key populations by excluding people in prison and migrants.
Still, results point to the need for disaggregated data to develop targeted interventions for key populations that may differ by region, study authors concluded.