ECDC and WHO call for improved HIV testing in Europe
The number of people living with undiagnosed HIV is increasing in the WHO European Region. According to data published today by ECDC and the WHO/Europe, more than 136 000 people were newly diagnosed in 2019 – roughly 20% of these were diagnosed in the EU/EAA and 80% in the eastern part of the European Region.
Every second HIV diagnosis (53%) happens at a late stage of the infection, when the immune system has already started to fail.
This is a sign that testing strategies in the Region are not working properly to diagnose HIV early. The number of people diagnosed with AIDS, the end-stage of an untreated HIV infection, has gone down by more than half in the last decade and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is achievable. However, in the EU/EEA for example, 74% of the 2 772 AIDS diagnoses in 2019 were made very soon after the initial HIV diagnosis – within three months. This shows a significant problem with late diagnosis of HIV infection. Late diagnosis contributes to ongoing HIV transmission as, often for years at a time, people do not know they have HIV and are not getting treatment.
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