In Europe, due to Covid-19, the number of HIV carriers who do not know they are HIV positive has increased. The alarm was raised by experts from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Ecdc) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the two organizations have drawn up one studio joint from which emerges the worrying trend due to the reduction of tests and the decrease in attention by health systems on the fight against sexually transmitted diseases.
The report on AIDS in the Old Continent opens with a fact that seems positive, but behind which there is some bad news. Last year, in Europe, the rate of new confirmed HIV cases dropped by 24 percent compared to 2019. This, the study reads, “is largely due to the reduction of HIV tests during 2020 to because of the restrictions due to Covid-19 and the interruptions of services “.
Despite the potential underestimation of new cases, in 2020 104,765 new HIV infections were diagnosed in 46 of the 53 countries of the European region, of which 14,971 came from EU countries. This corresponds to 11.8 newly diagnosed infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the European region.
“In the coming years, we need to closely monitor trends to ensure that the setbacks due to Covid-19 have not worsened the situation of late HIV diagnosis,” said the director of the ECDC. Andrea Ammon. “In addition – he added – we must increase primary prevention throughout the region, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, large-scale testing and make HIV treatments available immediately after diagnosis for as many people as possible.”
“With the world‘s attention focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot forget another deadly virus that has devastated lives and communities for nearly 40 years,” said the Hans Henri Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Since the HIV virus was first identified in 1984, it has claimed more than 35 million lives, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history,” added Kluge.