“Despite considerable progress in the fight against the HIV/AIDS, we cannot be complacent about this disease. In particular we need to educate a new generation on living safer, sexually healthy lives. We also need to stamp out the unacceptable stigma that still exists around HIV”, said Dublin MEP Nessa Childers, who was speaking in Brussels on the occasion of World Aids Day.
“Fear of discrimination is one of the reasons people are not getting tests early, and in the EU almost half (47%) of infections are diagnosed late. Early diagnosis is of utmost importance as a person who receives antiretroviral therapy early on will have a better health outcome and be less likely to transmit HIV to others.
“The good news is that mother to child transmission has been virtually eliminated in the EU, and the number of new infections amongst heterosexuals has been steadily declining. However, the bad news is that the number of new infections diagnosed in certain risk groups such as men who have sex with men has increased by 33% in the EU. Indeed, within this group the infection rates in young adults have nearly doubled. Overall, Europe remains one of the few regions in the world in which the number of new infections is increasing.
“Dublin Aids Alliance report that the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) 2013 report shows that 344 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Ireland in 2013. The latest indications for the first half of 2014 shows that there were 205 new cases diagnosed. This is the highest number of HIV diagnoses in a half yearly report since 2009. Many people living with HIV in Ireland reside in the Eastern Region and Dublin city and county.