New HIV Case Numbers Increasing In Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Report Says

“A report published by the [WHO’s] European office and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed a steady increase in new HIV cases over the last year, but by far the majority of cases were in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” Reuters reports. More than “131,000 people were newly infected with HIV in Europe and nearby countries in 2012, an eight percent rise from a year earlier and a worrying reversal of a recent downward trend in AIDS cases in the West,” the news service writes (Kelland, 11/27). Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost notes “the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region … accounted for 102,000 new infections” (11/27). “The report noted that some 76,000 new HIV infections were reported in Russia alone,” according to VOA News (11/27).

“In much of the former Soviet Bloc, the number of people diagnosed with AIDS has increased 113 percent from 2006 to 2012, yet AIDS cases in Western Europe decreased by 48 percent over the same period,” TIME writes (Alter, 11/27). “Experts are now calling for ‘accelerated action’ to contain the spread of HIV, such as providing clean needles and syringes for drug users, free condoms and easy access to HIV testing for sex workers and gay men, and early access to treatment,” The Independent adds (Saul, 11/27). “Equal access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care for all population groups throughout the region is essential to reach the global goal of universal access for all in need,” the WHO states in a press release (11/27).

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