The State of HIV Care in Europe
More than 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. This disease is an epidemic that affects other countries differently. For example, the prevalence of HIV in the Eastern and Southern Africa is high. These regions make up almost 50 percent of the total number of people living with HIV in the world. Access to HIV care in these parts of the world are scarce, leaving their population without much protection and an increasing number of new infections.
Other countries like Europe and Central Asia have seen a recent a drastic increase of new infections. Within the past couple of years, these regions saw a 57 percent increase in annual new HIV infections. Overall, there are 1.5 million people who live with HIV in Europe and Central Asia. To curb this rise, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) evaluated their method for combating HIV.
The Continuum of HIV Care
The ECDC developed a framework called the continuum of HIV care, which monitors the success of their HIV response. This framework involves looking at data from over 48 countries across Europe and Central Asia. The ECDC’s most recent report, the ECDC Dublin Declaration, looks at four aspects of HIV prevention, which it categorizes into stages:
- S1 – The estimated number of all people who live with HIV (PLHIV).
- S2 – The number of all PLHIV who have a diagnosis.
- S3 – The number on PLHIV who have a diagnosis and who are on ART.
- S4 – The number of PLHIV on ART who show signs of viral suppression.
The ECDC’s Findings
The ECDC saw an increase in the number of countries reporting data on all four stages of the continuum, from 40 percent to 66 percent. As more countries participate in the continuum, the ECDC can develop a better analysis of the state of HIV. Here’s the breakdown of their findings:
- 37 countries from Europe and Central Asia reported data for both Stage 1 and Stage 2.
- An estimated 1,199,000 people live with HIV, and 75 percent of those individuals have received a diagnosis.
- 1 in 4 people with a diagnosis is not receiving treatment for the disease.
- 31 countries from Europe and Central Asia reported data for both Stage 3 and Stage 4.
- 599,500 people with a diagnosis are using antiretroviral drugs, and only 88 percent show signs of viral suppression.
What the ECDC Learned
Efforts to monitor and predict the spread of HIV is only as great as the number of countries participating. As a result, the ECDC has trouble estimating the number of people living with HIV (Stage 1) and those who are virally suppressed (Stage 4). The organization hopes to support countries in using their modeling tool to develop better estimates of who has HIV and how many people show signs of viral suppression.
With more data, the ECDC can identify which countries need help fighting the infection, as well as improve testing, treatment, and HIV care. Hopefully, efforts by organizations like the ECDC and UNAIDS will be able to slow down and reverse the spread of HIV.