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One in seven HIV-positives in Europe unaware of infection

One in seven HIV-positives in Europe unaware of infection

PanARMENIAN.Net - One in seven people with HIV in Europe is unaware of their infection, the EU and World Health Organization reported Tuesday, November 29 as 2015 marked another record year for new HIV cases in the region, AFP reports.

"HIV/AIDS continues to be a serious problem in Europe... The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) estimate that one in seven people living with HIV are unaware of their status is particularly worrying," EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said in the report released ahead of World AIDS Day on Thursday.

"People who do not know they are infected cannot benefit from life-saving treatment, and can continue to transmit the virus to others," he noted.

The ECDC figure is based on data from the 28 EU nations plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Almost half of cases in those countries -- 47 percent -- are diagnosed at a late stage of infection, the ECDC said, estimating that on average it takes almost four years before an HIV infection is diagnosed and reported.

Sex between men remains the main reported HIV transmission mode in those 31 countries, accounting for 42 percent of diagnoses. Men who have sex with men is the only group that has seen a steady increase in infections over the years, the report said.

Heterosexual sex accounts for 32 percent of diagnoses, followed by drug use at four percent.

Meanwhile, Europe registered its highest number of new HIV cases in a single year in 2015, at 153,407 cases, up from 142,000 in 2014, the WHO said.

The 2014 figures were also a record number, driven by cases in Russia and immigrants who acquired the virus after arrival.

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