December 1, 2011
Last year, 1.5 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a 250 percent increase since 2001, UN agencies reported Wednesday. This region saw the fastest HIV growth in the world, and AIDS-related deaths increased as well -- standing in contrast with the global trend of HIV services reducing new HIV infections and AIDS-related mortality, said the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and UNICEF.
Over 90 percent of these infections occur in just two countries, Russia and the Ukraine, where injection drug use and sex work compound the risk of increased HIV rates. In Ukraine, 39 percent-50 percent of injection drug users are believed to have HIV, as are an estimated 37 percent of IDUs in the Russian Federation.
Antiretroviral coverage in the region is only about 23 percent; meanwhile ARV coverage to prevent mother-to-child infections stands at 79 percent, with 65 percent pediatric HIV treatment coverage.
"There is no sign yet that the epidemic in this region has peaked," the agencies said.
For more information, visit: www.who.int/hiv/pub/progress_report2011/en/index.html.