The latest annual surveillance report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that Europe maintains its distinction as the World Health Organization region with the largest increase in HIV cases in a year, and one of only two of the six global regions (the other being the Middle East and north Africa) that has not seen cases decline. Two-thirds of all cases were in a single country: Russia, which had 65.5% of new diagnoses in the European region, even though it only has 16% of its population.
Access to treatment remains the biggest single reason for the ongoing epidemic in Russia and much of the rest of eastern Europe. Countries like Russia have long had high rates of HIV testing and it is estimated that 86% of people with HIV in Russia are diagnosed. However, only 36% are linked to care.
The reverse is true in the countries grouped together as 'central Europe' in the report, which stretch from Poland down to the Balkans and also include Turkey, Israel and Cyprus. Here, although there have been reports of drug stockouts from Romania and Serbia, medical treatment for those diagnosed is generally adequate but testing rates have historically been low and half the people with HIV in central Europe may be undiagnosed.
The ECDC report also confirms that a number of countries in western Europe are starting to see quite significant falls in HIV diagnoses.