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One Out of Seven HIV-Positive People in Europe Are Not Aware of Their Status
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 1st, 2016) Of the 29,747 new HIV infections in the 31 member states of the European Economic Area in 2015, about one of seven do not know their positive HIV status. This is the result of a study by the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published on November 29, 2016.
The joint study by the ECDC and the European Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) have not made any progress in HIV/AIDS prevention over the last decade.
About 4,250 people learned about being HIV positive in 2015. According to ECDC calculations, there are about 122,000 people in the EEA who do not know that they have contracted the HI virus.
These statistical figures are pointing out a time bomb: An HIV-positive person who does not know about his or her status can easily pass the virus on to others – and we simply do not know to how many people. However, the spreading could easily be prevented if the contagious persons knew about their status and were treated with antiretroviral therapy. Considering that the average incubation time of AIDS is about four years, one can easily understand the catastrophic effects that an unknown infection may have.
Of course, we can do something to help: More prevention work and HIV tests free of charge, or simply a lower price for self-testing kits.
As such decisions are political issues, there are big differences in Europe.
In France for example, about 6000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2015, and about 43% of those were gay men. In addition, only about one third of the gays know their own HIV status.
Once again, this shows how important education and prevention work is when considering this topic.