HIV/AIDS in Europe

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AIDS and HIV prevalence 2009

According to data from CIA World Factbook (2009), the countries with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Europe are Estonia, Ukraine (1.10%), Russia (1.00%), Latvia (0.70%), Portugal (0.60%).[1]

In Western Europe, the routes of transmission of HIV are diverse, including paid sex, sex between men, intravenous drugs, mother to child transmission and heterosexual sex. However, many new infections in this region occur through contact with HIV-infected individuals from other regions. The adult (15–49) prevalence in this region is 0.3% with between 570,000 and 890,000 people currently living with HIV.[when?] Due to the availability of antiretroviral therapy, deaths from AIDS have stayed low since the introduction of protease inhibitors and combination therapy in the late 1990s. The Economist reported in January 2000 that almost 40% of "AIDS victims" are intravenous drug users.[2]

At the end of 2007, it was estimated that around 800,000 people were living with HIV in Western and Central Europe. This represents 8.1% increase over the estimated 740,000 in 2006. The highest rates were reported from Estonia, Portugal and Russia; the lowest rates were reported by Slovakia, the Czech Republic (0.025%) and Romania. Although the numbers are relatively small when compared to the number of people living with HIV in areas such as Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS in Western and Central Europe is still considered a major public health issue.[3][4]

Regarding the social effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, there has been since the 1980s a "profound re-medicalization of sexuality".[5][6]

As part of the global AIDS pandemic, there is also growing concern about a rapidly growing epidemic in Eastern Europe, particularly in Post-Soviet states.[where?]


Albania remains to have a low number of HIV death-related cases. Between 1992 and until the end of 2011, Albania reported a total of 487 HIV cases. Among these 487 cases: 83.1% heterosexual contact, 12.7% were transmitted through sexual contact between men, and 4.2% were transmitted from mother to child. No HIV cases were transmitted through injecting drug use.

In the year 2011, Albania had a total 71 new HIV infections, 38 AIDS cases, and 9 AIDS-related deaths. Of the newly reported HIV cases, 73% were male.

However, Albania remains to have a low HIV testing coverage for its general public. Only 2% of clinics and health facilities in Albania offered HIV testing services. Within those who acquired testing, 48% were men who were in sexual contact with another man.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

In reference to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered to be a low prevalence country (less than 0.1%). Ever since the first registered case of AIDS in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1986 up until the end of 2017, 350 HIV infected persons have been registered and AIDS has developed in 102 cases. 80% of people who live with HIV in Bosnia are males, and the average age of the infected is between 30 and 39 years. The number of infected persons might be a bit higher, because of the fear and stigma people don't get tested. Some professionals estimate that there are between 900 - 1000 people who are HIV positive in Bosnia.

In addition, significant attention should be paid to the Roma section of the population due to their marginalisation, and youths, particularly adolescents and primary school pupils in Urban areas.

In the past couple of years HIV infection has been kept under control in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only 0.009% (350) of the countries population (4.000.000) is confirmed to have the HIV virus, its safe to say that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very low prevalence country. Most groups of people that are identified as being exposed to a higher risks of HIV infection are being successfully followed thanks to the BiH programme to combat HIV/AIDS with support provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Through UNDP support, 22 centres were established across the country, which provide free, confidential HIV testing for all. Although Bosnia has free HIV therapy and medicaments, the biggest problem is that there is no access to modern medicaments that are available in some other European countries for example Germany, Austria, France etc.


Belgium had a total of 18,908 HIV cases by the end of 2017 (not taking into account the people who are not aware of their infection). Prevalence is 1.7 cases per 1000 inhabitants.

2.4 new cases are diagnosed daily. Most of the newly diagnosed cases were transmitted through heterosexual contact, 49.6%. Secondly, HIV cases transmitted through sexual contact among men having sex with men (MSM) were at 46.6%. Third, 1.3% of HIV cases were transmitted through injected drug use. Despite easy access to HIV blood testing in Belgium, 36% of new cases are diagnosed at late stage of the disease. Late diagnosis is more frequent in the heterosexual population (46%) than in MSM group (27%). Unlike other countries in Europe, Belgium offers HIV testing by all practitioners, clinics, hospitals, and student services. Most diagnosis centers offer rapid and/or 4th generation testing without any costs and anonymously.

97% of diagnosed patients have access to adequate therapy, with viral charge being undetectable in the blood (uninfectious status) and stopping the spread of the disease.

Czech Republic[edit]

In the Czech Republic on 31 December 2018 diagnosed 3,368 HIV-positive people, overall 3,814 people including foreigners (446 people). In 2018, it increased 208. Most affected is the city of Prague (1651). Since 1994 the Czech Republic has performed 28.8 million HIV tests. 415,813 people have received examinations at their own request. Of test recipients, 75% indicated that their reason for seeking a test was that they were a man who had sex with men. AIDS outbreak at 506 people (as of 31 December 2016, The statistics led from 1 October 1985), of which 255 of them died. The average age of diagnosis is 35 years for men and 39 years for women. In 2018 there was a decrease in diagnoses. There was a decrease of 46 people (citizens and residents) compared to 2017. [7]


By the end of 2015, a total of 9,263 HIV cases had been reported in Estonia.[8] In 2016, there were 9,492 HIV cases in Estonia, the highest number in the Baltic countries.


HIV-1 was first reported in Iceland in 1985. By the end of 2012 a total of 300 patients had been diagnosed with HIV-1 infection in the country, of which 66 had developed AIDS and 39 died as a result of the disease.[9][10] Following the first introduction of HIV-1 to Iceland onwards to the end of 2012, the infection has been dominated by subtype B with a relatively low fraction of founders compared to the total number of introductions. HIV-1 infection in the country appeared to be highly concentrated among men who have sex with men and injection drug users and less among heterosexuals. The genetic diversity of HIV-1 in Iceland has increased significantly over time, most likely related to the increased proportion of foreign-born residents in the country from the mid-1990s.[11][12] In the most recent study investigating the prevalence and trends of transmitted drug resistance among antiretroviral-therapy naive patients in Iceland, the prevalence was found to be at moderate level (8.5%), with an evidence of decreasing prevalence of transmitted drug resistance in Iceland during 1996–2012.[13]


In 2016, there were 6,972 HIV cases in total in Latvia. 365 new cases appeared, an improvement from 393 the year before, but still the highest number of new infections in the Baltic countries in 2016.[14]

Latvia has the one the highest HIV infection rate in the European Union.[15]. The dominant identified HIV infection pattern in Latvia is heterosexual relations (33% of new cases in 2018), followed by intravenous drug use (22%), followed by homosexual relations (6%). In 37% of new cases the way of infection is unknown.[16]


In 2016, there were 2,749 cases in the country in total. New infections had remained consistently under 200 per year but surpassed this mark in 2016 with 214 cases.[14]

The data regularly show that intravenous drug use is the main HIV infection pattern in the country: in 2017, 51.7% of new HIV cases were observed among drug users. During the same year, 24.3% new infections stemmed from heterosexual relations and 6.8% from homosexual relations.[17]


By 2004 the number of reported cases in Russia was over 257,000, according to the World Health Organization, up from 15,000 in 1995 and 190,000 in 2002; some estimates claim the real number is up to five times higher, over 1 million.


Spain, and its complicated history with HIV/AIDS, is one of the more infected populations in Western Europe and North America, joining the US, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and the United Kingdom who together account for three quarters of the infected population in that region.[18] The first reported cases of AIDS were in 1983. Two hemophiliacs, after receiving blood transfusions from the United States, died in Andalucía of the disease.[19] Later on, it was found that a male patient in 1981 was indeed infected with AIDS after having sex with other men outside of his relationship while he travelled to the United States and Turkey.[20]

In 1997, Spain had 104 cases of AIDS per 100,000 which was triple the European Union average at the time. Spain also accounted for a quarter of the HIV infected population of Western Europe at that time.[21] However, in 2016 Spain had plateaued to a national average that echoed the average adult HIV prevalence in Western Europe & North American at 0.3%. Spain is also hovering with percentages in the treatment that those who are infected are receiving. 77% of those who are infected with HIV in Spain received antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 78% of Western Europe and North America are receiving the same treatment.[18][22] The five demographics that are have the highest prevalence of HIV infection are sex workers (2%), drug users by injection (2.3%), prisoners (5.4%), men who have sex with other men (11.3%), and transgender people (13.3%).[21]


From the end of the 1980s to the early 2000s, infection rate in Sweden was about 300 new cases per year, then the rate increased.[24] From 2006 to 2016 the number of patients applying for treatment for HIV increased from 1 684 to 6 273 (373%), which according to National Board of Health and Welfare was due to increased immigration from countries with higher levels of HIV.[24]

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2015, the prevalence of HIV in the United Kingdom was estimated at 101,200 (0.16% of the population), 13% of whom are unaware of their infection.[25][26][27] Prevalence is highest in gay/bisexual men in London with an estimated 1 in 17 living with HIV.[25]


Registered HIV prevalence in Ukraine, end-2007

The epidemic is still in its early stages in this region, which means that prevention strategies may be able to halt and reverse this epidemic. However, transmission of HIV is increasing through sexual contact and drug use among the young (under 30-year-olds). Indeed, over 80% of current infections occur in this region in people less than 30 years of age.

See also[edit]


  1. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "Country Comparison :: HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate".
  2. ^ "Going Dutch?". The Economist. 13 January 2000. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Euro report on HIV" (PDF). 2009.
  4. ^ "HIV & AIDS in Western Europe".
  5. ^ Aggleton, Peter; Parker, Richard Bordeaux; Barbosa, Regina Maria (2000). Framing the sexual subject: the politics of gender, sexuality, and power. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-520-21838-3.
  6. ^ Carole S. Vance (1991). "Anthropology Rediscovers Sexuality: A Theoretical Comment". Social Science and Medicine. 33 (8): 875–884. doi:10.1016/0277-9536(91)90259-f. PMID 1745914.
  7. ^ {{cite web|url=}%7Ctitle= Tisková zpráva NRL pro HIV/AIDS v ČR v roce 2018}
  8. ^ "Estonia - Country progress report 2016". UNAIDS. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  9. ^ The directorate of health in Iceland. 2015 [cited 2015 Sep 2]. Available from:
  10. ^ Statistics Iceland: the centre for official statistics in Iceland. 2016 [cited 2016 Feb 11]. Available from:
  11. ^ Sallam, Malik; Esbjörnsson, Joakim; Baldvinsdóttir, Guðrún; Indriðason, Hlynur; Björnsdóttir, Thora Björg; Widell, Anders; Gottfreðsson, Magnús; Löve, Arthur; Medstrand, Patrik (2017). "Molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 in Iceland: Early introductions, transmission dynamics and recent outbreaks among injection drug users". Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 49: 157–163. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2017.01.004. PMID 28082188.
  12. ^ Indridason H, Gudmundsson S, Karlsdottir B, et al. Long term nationwide analysis of HIV and AIDS in Iceland, 1983-2012. J AIDS Clin Res. 2014;5:387.
  13. ^ Sallam, Malik; Şahin, Gülşen Özkaya; Indriðason, Hlynur; Esbjörnsson, Joakim; Löve, Arthur; Widell, Anders; Gottfreðsson, Magnus; Medstrand, Patrik (2017). "Decreasing prevalence of transmitted drug resistance among ART-naive HIV-1-infected patients in Iceland, 1996–2012". Infection Ecology & Epidemiology. 7 (1): 1328964. doi:10.1080/20008686.2017.1328964. PMC 5475329. PMID 28649306.
  14. ^ a b McDermott, Doireann (4 May 2017). "Latvia surpasses Estonia with highest new cases of HIV". The Baltic Times (902).
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b "HIV AND AIDS IN W & C EUROPE & N AMERICA REGIONAL OVERVIEW". Avert. 26 March 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  19. ^ Relaño, Alfredo. “Confirmado oficialmente que dos hermanos murieron en Sevilla a causa del síndrome de inmunodeficiencia.” El País 5 May 1983. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
  20. ^ Allbritton, Dean (March 2016). "It Came from California: The AIDS Origin Story in Spain". Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. 50 (1): 143–166. doi:10.1353/rvs.2016.0015.
  21. ^ a b "Spain's War on AIDS Visits the Prado". New York Times. Aug 27, 1997. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  22. ^ "Spain UNAIDS Report". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  23. ^ "Statistikdatabas för diagnoser i specialiserad öppen vård". (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  24. ^ a b Göransson, Josefine (2017-11-30). "Allt fler söker vård för HIV i Skåne". 24 Malmö. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  25. ^ a b "HIV in the UK" (PDF). UK Government. Public Health England. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  26. ^ Trust, Terrence Higgins. "HIV in the UK | Terrence Higgins Trust". Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  27. ^ "UK HIV Statistics | National AIDS Trust - NAT". Retrieved 2017-08-27.

External links[edit]