A record number of infections with the AIDS virus (HIV) was recorded in Europe and Central Asia in 2014 of which nearly a third have affected immigrants, said Thursday the European Union and the World Health Organization.
The European monitoring Centre for Disease Prevention (ECDC, in Stockholm) and WHO reported 142,000 new diagnoses, the most since the onset of the disease on the continent in the 1980s
Russia alone concentrates 60% of these diagnoses. The 28 EU countries plus the three States of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) represent only 21% and the number of infections tends to decline in Western Europe.
This is confirmed for Belgium, where after an almost uninterrupted growth over the last 20 years, the number of new infections in 2014 is estimated at 1,039, against 1,229 two years earlier.
Moreover, 31% of people were born outside the country in which they were diagnosed. This proportion is highest in rich countries of northern Europe (Iceland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway and Ireland).
According to the WHO and the EU, the number of migrants arriving on the continent with HIV fell by 41% in ten years, and European countries have room for improvement in the prevention of contamination in their own territory.
“When refugees and migrants are victims of social exclusion in their host countries, they become more likely to catch HIV, and this can lead them to follow risky behavior, “said the director of WHO Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, quoted in a statement.