Today marks World AIDS Day, which aims to promote awareness of the disease and mourn those who have died from it. The event came into existence in 1988 and it has been widely observed by health officials, governments and non-governmental organizations since then.
HIV affects more than 2.3 million people in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) defined European Region, particularly in the Eastern countries. According to the WHO, the European Region stretches from the "western shores of Greenland to the Pacific shores of the Russian Federation, and from the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea." The following chart shows the number of new HIV diagnoses per 100,000 people in 2021, using data from the latest WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) annual report.
According to the paper, 106,508 newly diagnosed HIV infections were reported in 46 of the 53 countries in the Region. This equates to around 12.0 newly diagnosed infections per 100,000 population. Rates of people diagnosed with HIV are highest in the East of the Region, at 32.4 people per 100,000 population in 2021, versus 3.9 per 100,000 in the West, and 3.1 per 100,000 in the Centre. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a significant drop in the reported number of new HIV diagnoses due to the impact of the pandemic on related services.
As our chart shows, the highest rates per 100,000 population in 2021 were in the Russian Federation (40.2), followed by Ukraine (37.1), the Republic of Moldova (25.9), Kazakhstan (18.7), Cyprus (16.5), Belarus (15.6) and Armenia (15.2). At the opposite end of the spectrum stand Slovenia (1.5), Croatia (1.9) and Norway (1.9). Men were nearly twice as likely to have been infected with HIV at 15.7 per 100,000 population compared to women at 8.5 per 100,000.
Where sexual transmission between men was most common in the EU/EEA and the report’s definition of the West, heterosexual transmission and injecting drug use were the main reported transmission modes in the East of the Region.