Aids Focus

HIV rates soar in eastern Europe

2010-07-20 07:36

Special Report

Vienna - Nowhere in the world is the HIV virus spreading faster than in eastern Europe and Central Asia, where more than 80% of those infected are under 30 years old, Unicef said on Monday.

"Eastern Europe and Central Asia are the only parts of the world where the HIV epidemic remains clearly on the rise," it said in a report published on Monday at the 18th International Aids Conference in Vienna.

In parts of Russia, the rate of HIV infections has gone up by 700% since 2006, said the report, "Blame and Banishment: The underground HIV epidemic affecting children in Eastern Europe and Central Asia."

Sharing needles

And a third of new infections in the whole region affected teenagers and young adults between 15 and 24, the UN's child protection agency noted.

One of the main causes for this drastic increase was drug use and the sharing of needles in a region that counts 3.7 million injecting drug users: about 25% of the world's total, said the report.

And the drug users were starting as early as 12 years old, it added.

Sexual transmission had also turned recently into a major cause of the HIV spread: some 80% of sex workers in eastern Europe and central Asia were young people, said Unicef.

Many of them were selling sex to support their drug habit.

The report thus painted a picture of those most at risk being young, marginalised people uncared for by their families or living in the street.

And according to Unicef, this figure amounted to some 1.3 million children in the region.

Social stigma


Compounding the problem was the fact that many did not seek treatment for their condition because of the social stigma associated with HIV: they feared being judged or even facing criminal prosecution.

And that pushed them further into the margins of society, the report noted.

A young interviewee from Tadjikistan told researchers she had only visited an HIV prevention and treatment centre after being taken there by a social worker: until then, she did not believe the medical check-ups and condoms would be free, fearing it was just a police trap.

Traditionally authoritarian attitudes in the post-Soviet countries of eastern Europe and central Asia gave little attention to marginalised groups and young people, Unicef noted.

The report called for more prevention and treatment centres, and friendlier services to respond to the epidemic.

"This report is a call to protect the rights and dignity of all people living with or at risk of exposure to HIV, but especially vulnerable children and young people," Unicef chief Anthony Lake said.

"We need to build an environment of trust and care, not one of judgment and exclusion."

"Only by reversing discrimination against people living with HIV, can Eastern Europe and Central Asia begin to reverse the spread of the epidemic."

- SAPA

Read more on:    unicef  |  hiv aids
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.