HIV cases reach over 2 million for the first time in Europe

The Member States of the World Health Organization created World AIDS Day in 1988. World AIDS Day is celebrated on 1 December every year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to disseminate information about the status of the pandemic and to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world.

For the first time, the cumulative number of HIV cases in the WHO European Region increased to over 2 million. More than 153 000 new HIV cases contributed to this figure in 2015 – a 7% increase compared to the previous year and the highest annual number since reporting began in the 1980s.

These are the main findings of the new report “HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2015”, released jointly by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) ahead of World AIDS Day 2016.

“Despite significant efforts, HIV remains among the main public health concerns in the WHO European Region, in particular in its eastern part. 2015 recorded the highest number of new cases in one year, contributing to an appalling 2 million cumulative cases,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “To address this critical situation, we have made available a new action plan that all European countries endorsed in September 2016. We now call on countries’ leaders to use this plan for an urgent, accelerated and innovative response to HIV in the Region, to reverse the AIDS epidemics immediately and end it by 2030.”

Patterns and trends of HIV epidemic vary widely across the Region.

The annual increase in new HIV cases continued with the following geographical breakdown:

  • 27 022 new HIV cases were diagnosed in western European countries (18%). This shows no substantial decline over the last decade.
  • 5297 new HIV cases were diagnosed in central European countries (3%). Although the intensity of the epidemic remains low in the area, this is a substantial increase compared with 10 years ago.
  • 121 088 new HIV cases were diagnosed in eastern European countries (79%). This more than doubled in a decade. The number of AIDS cases in this area increased by 80% in 10 years.

The new HIV action plan builds on previous achievements and reformulates the public health response to HIV/AIDS. It sets concrete actions for countries to achieve 3 ambitious 90–90–90 targets by 2020: 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of diagnosed people living with HIV receive treatment and 90% of people on treatment achieve viral suppression. To achieve these objectives, each country should define and implement an essential package of prevention, testing, treatment and care interventions contextualized to its local epidemic, resources and capacity.

The WHO Office in Azerbaijan in relation with the World AIDS Day has supported the National AIDS Center in conducting a series of activities, such as organization of press-conference, awareness campaign and voluntary HIV-testing.

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WHO resources

  • HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2015 (2016) http://www.euro.who.int/en/2016/hivaids-surveillance-in-europe-2015
  • Action plan for the health sector response to HIV in the WHO European Region (2016) http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/hivaids/publications/2016/action-plan-for-the-health-sector-response-to-hiv-in-the-who-european-region.-draft-5.4-201\
  • Facts and resources on HIV/AIDS in the Region http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/hivaids
  • World AIDS Day 2016 http://www.who.int/life-course/news/events/world-aids-day-2016/en/
  • HIV self-testing: questions and answers on the WHO YouTube site https://youtu.be/BA5E9wsEbPw
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