OREANDA-NEWS  Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have become leaders in the rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) spread among European countries. Such data for 2017 are published in the report of the European Centre for disease prevention and control (ECDC) and the European regional office of the World Health Organization.

Specialists in total recorded about 160 thousand new HIV cases last year, 130 thousand-in Eastern Europe, with the vast majority of cases — 104 thousand diagnoses — were registered in Russia.

In Russia, 71.1 new HIV cases per 100 thousand people were detected, in Ukraine — 37 cases, in Belarus — 26.1, in Moldova — 20.6. In Central Europe, the figure was 3.2. The lowest rates are in Bosnia and Herzegovina (0.3), Slovakia (1.3) and Slovenia (1.9).

According to the report, in most cases, the virus was transmitted through heterosexual sex (59%) and injecting drug use (30%).

In General, experts noted a decrease in the number of new cases in Western Europe. Among the reasons are programs that offer more frequent and targeted HIV tests.

"This allows you to quickly communicate with the health care system and immediately begin antiretroviral treatment of persons whose tests have shown positive results," — the words of ECDC Director Andrea Ammon are given in the report.

Russia has difficulties in treating people with HIV, Vinay Saldana, regional Director for Eastern Europe and Asia of the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) told.

"If we take into account that at the end of 2017, according to estimates, there were almost 1 million people with HIV, then about 400 thousand people were covered by treatment, that is 40%," he said, noting that Russia needs to take urgent measures and develop a Federal program that would provide all people with HIV in Russia with continuous treatment.

According to the expert, the low rates of treatment can be explained by the lack of resources.

According to the Federal AIDS center under Rospotrebnadzor for 2017, about 1 million people live with HIV in Russia.