A patient in Malawi has a better chance than a patient in Saint Petersburg
The HIV epidemic is spreading rapidly in Eastern Europe. in Russia, Ukrain, and Belarus the people with HIV have almost tripled in amount. And the amount of people who die of the illness is still growing. Also TBC is spreading fast, a disastrous combination with HIV. The augmentation of multiresistent TBC should get the Eastern countries in movement. But there are aspects of the aids explosion in Eastern Europe that beg for attention, so says Ton Coenen, director of the Aids fonds en Soa Aids in the Netherlands. Coenen is one of the two chairmen from the conference HIV in Europe Copenhagen 2012 dat will take place on the 19th and 20th of march.
Augmentation of 250%
Even though there are better possible treatments, HIV is still a growing problem in Europe. A huge source of care is the fast spreading HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe. According to UNAIDS the amount of people with HIV has grown from approximately 410.000 to 1.5 million in 2010, an augmentation of 250%/. The international conference in Kopenhagen, that will take place with the support of de EU, will take this as an important subject on their agenda.
Since the first HIV in Europe conference in 2007, Western Europe made a lot of progress, but Eastern Europe had to face an aids serious aids epidemic explosion. If you have HIV in Eastern Europe, it is extremely difficult to get access to treatment and prevention. ‘The access to HIV-blockers in Malawi si better than in Saint Petersburg at this point’ Says professor Jens Lundgren, co-founder of the biennial conference.
Sadly the multiresistent TBC keeps on growing in Eastern Europe. A multiresistant variant comes into existence when the TBC treatment is interrupted. For example when a patient doesn’t take his medicines often enough or when he doesn’t take enough medicines. Such problems mostly exists in countries where the treatment isn’t well coordinated yet. From the European stuedy EuroSIDA we can tell that 30% from the people with HIV in Eastern Europe that also have TBC, will die within 12 months after the diagnosis.
Convert words into actions
Can Europe close its eyes to the fact that gigantic groups withing Eastern Europe get stigmatized and don’t have access to the medical treatment they need? This is a question of Ton Coenen from the Aids fonds and Soa Aids Netherlands. ‘ The politicians from those countries must work on solutions, such as the legalization of opiatesubstitutes therapy for drug users. Of course we are satisfied with the EU- resolution from 1 December 2011 that emphasizes that there should be more attention for HIV. But it is time to finally make an action out of this. In Copenhagen we will bring the most important people together’. Says Coenen.