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Major survey of HIV and AIDS in Europe

What's it like to have HIV in Europe? That is the question the European Men's Health Forum is hoping to answer in the most comprehensive survey yet of people living with the disease.

The United Nations AIDS programme estimate that about 51,000 people in the UK have HIV, the infection that can leads to AIDS. This is up from 43,000 in 2001. The EMHF wants to ask as many of them as possible, women as well as men, what it's like.

The United Nations calculates that in Western Europe, 580,000 people are now living with HIV compared to 540,000 in 2001 but the enlargement of the EU has also enlarged the union's HIV community. According to the UN, Eastern Europe and Central Asia continue to have expanding epidemics, fuelled by injecting drug use. Young people are particularly affected - more than 80% of new cases in these areas are under the age of 30. The worst affected countries among the new EU members are Estonia and Latvia.

The true number of people living with HIV in Europe will certainly be higher than official figures. A new British report suggests that one in 10 homosexual men who visit popular gay venues in London are infected with HIV, and a third of them don't realise it.

Speaking on on the eve of the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, the EMHF's director Erick Savoye said. 'This is an exciting project for us as it will provide an update on the valuable knowledge acquired from previous HIV-related quality of life projects. Administered separately from any clinical trial, it is unique in focussing on the influencing factors such as treatment, day-to-day life, employment and access to health services that make up a patient's total experience of the disease.'

The EMHF believes that personal experiences are key to improving life for people with HIV and AIDS. Any HIV positive adult (over 18 years old) living in one of the European countries can take part.

Page created on July 16th, 2004

Page updated on December 1st, 2009