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European HIV Epidemic Driven by Poverty More Than Sex

European HIV Epidemic Driven by Poverty More Than Sex

The World Bank Group, World Health Organization/Europe, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine released a report last week reviewing evidence on HIV vulnerability and response. It focuses on key populations most at risk of HIV infection and what is needed to prevent the disease.

The report provides plenty of statistics, including the percentage of HIV diagnoses in Europe associated with injection-drug use (25%) and the percentage due to sex between men (10%). The numbers are discouraging, showing a growing European HIV epidemic, most severe among poor and marginalized people and exacerbated by economic problems.

"Social exclusion is the core driver of HIV epidemics in Europe," said Martin Donoghoe, program manager for HIV/AIDS, STIs, and viral hepatitis at WHO/Europe. "Exclusion from lifesaving HIV prevention, treatment, and care is often the end result."

The report concentrates on social and environmental changes, policies, and programs needed to stop the spread of HIV. Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the report indicates that, despite economic instability and funding uncertainty, institutions can work together to help fuel positive change.

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