New Report Says HIV Rates Keep Rising In Eastern Europe

HIV remains a major public health concern, affecting more than 2 million people in Europe, especially in the eastern regions like Russia, according to a new study.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and the World Health Organization of Europe reports that Eastern Europe continues to experience the highest rates of HIV diagnoses in the world.

The report, which CNN reported Tuesday, reveals that in 2017, of the nearly 160,000 people diagnosed with HIV in Europe, 130,000 of those were in Eastern Europe – the highest ever in the latter region.

Russia experiences the highest rates, with 71 newly diagnosed cases per 100,000 people in 2017.

In comparison, Eastern Europe had 51.1 new diagnosed cases per 100,000 people, Western Europe had a rate of 6.4 new cases per 100,000. Central Europe had 3.2 cases per 100,000 people.

"The significance in this report is that we can see a sharp difference between Eastern Europe and the European Union where the number of HIV infection numbers is dropping," Dr. Masoud Dara, coordinator of communicable diseases and HIV team lead at WHO Europe, told CNN.

The disparate rates in Eastern Europe have health officials very concerned – and they say a lack of prevention is one cause, although better testing and treatment of the disease are also major concerns.

"The increasing trend in new HIV diagnoses continued for the Region overall, despite decreasing rates of new diagnoses in the EU/EEA," the executive summary posted on the ECPCD website reads.

Taking action to stem the epidemic is urgent, writes the authors of the report.

"The report calls for urgent action for countries and areas (especially in the eastern part) to revamp their political commitment and scale up efforts to implement the Action plan for the health sector response to HIV in the region," the report reads.

Consequently, the report emphasizes that new infections would have to decline by 78 percent by 2020 in order to meet specific WHO and Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS objectives.

"We are quite far behind achieving those targets, particularly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia," said Dara.

Since 2007, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO have reported on HIV and AIDS data.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control conducts its own annual study, so-called "surveillance reports" that disseminate HIV and AIDS data, according to the CDC. The most current report, from 2017, is available at

Among the types of data the CDC collects: the number and population rates of HIV diagnoses, the number of people living with HIV and the number of people receiving HIV medical care.

The CDC notes that "all personal identifiers are removed" from the data.