ECDC releases new reports on HIV response

The European Center for Disease Control published a set of reports on May 27 showing how European Union member states have historically responded to the HIV/AIDS pandemic through 2012.

The ECDC made an agreement with the Dublin Declaration on Partnership to Fight HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia to decrease HIV prevalence in the nations. The reports commended political leadership being taken to prevent and treat those at risk or infected with HIV.

Nearly 780,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Europe. Thus, the ECDC's study observed 10 aspects of the disease, including leadership and resources, stigma and discrimination, treatment care and support, the role of civil society and at-risk populations, including those who inject drugs, sex workers, migrants, prisoners and men who have sex with men.

"Especially in the current economic crisis we need to ensure both value for money in national HIV responses and that those who need treatment will be treated appropriately," ECDC Director Marc Sprenger said. "In this scenario, investment in HIV prevention makes sound economic sense: to prevent HIV transmission is significantly cheaper than treating HIV infection."

The report is said to demonstrate strong leadership from EU member states in the fight against HIV prevalence in the European region.

"This ensures that the required services are delivered to those who need them, and particularly, that antiretroviral therapy is readily available to key populations," Director-General of the Directorate General Health and Consumers Paola Testori Coggi said.

The report showed that although leadership has increased, the overall rate of late diagnosis remains high in the region, with nearly 50 percent of those infected finding out when they already have failing immune systems.