HIV Rising Fastest in Eastern Europe; Central Asia: UNICEF
July 22, 2010
HIV infection is spreading more rapidly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia than anywhere else in the world, AIDS experts warned this week at the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna.
In parts of Russia, the rate of HIV infection has risen by 700 percent since 2006, according to "Blame and Banishment: The Underground HIV Epidemic Affecting Children in Eastern Europe and Central Asia." The UNICEF report describes at-risk young people who are likely to be marginalized by their families or living in the street.
More than 80 percent of those infected in the region are younger than 30, and one-third of new infections are reported among those ages 15-24, the report stated.
Stigma or potential criminal prosecution associated with HIV dissuades many young people from seeking medical services. The researchers documented an incident in which a young HIV-positive resident of Tadjikistan sought help at a medical clinic only in the company of a social worker, wary that the offer of free care was a police trap.
Advocates at the conference are calling for more prevention and treatment resources as well as more approachable services for young people.
"This report is a call to protect the rights and dignity of all people living with or at risk of exposure to HIV, but especially vulnerable children and young people," UNICEF CEO Anthony Lake said in a statement.
To access the report, visit www.unicef.org/childsurvival/files/UNICEF_Blame_and_Banishment.pdf
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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