LIH provides figures on Luxembourg for the newly released European HIV/AIDS surveillance report
Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), with its long-standing expertise in the field of infectiology research and its know-how in epidemiology and data management, has an important mission in the national surveillance of infectious diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis. It was therefore engaged in providing data on HIV infection and AIDS prevalence from Luxembourg for the latest European HIV/AIDS surveillance report established by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.
LIH collaborators Dr Jean-Claude Schmit, CEO, Daniel Struck, bioinformatician at the Department of Infection and Immunity, and Valérie Etienne, data manager at the Department of Population Health, substantially contributed to the compilation of the national data.
The European HIV/AIDS surveillance report, launched on 26th November 2015 on the occasion of the World AIDS Day that is held every year on 1st December, contains data from 2014 on all countries from the European Union and the European Economic Area. It shows that although HIV is preventable through effective public health measures, significant HIV transmission continues in Europe. With HIV infection diagnosed in over 142 000 people in 2014, the WHO European Region recorded the highest number of newly diagnosed infections in one year since the start of reporting in the 1980s. The released data indicate that the growth of the HIV epidemic is driven by the eastern part of the European Region, where the number of new diagnoses has more than doubled during the past decade. Countries with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses in 2014 were Estonia (22.1; 291 cases) and Latvia (17.3; 347 cases). Strikingly, Luxembourg is the third country in the list (12.6; 69 cases).
Similar to recent years, the highest proportion of HIV diagnoses was reported to be in men who have sex with men (42%), with heterosexual contact being the second most common transmission mode (33%). Transmission due to injection of drugs accounted for 4% of HIV diagnoses, and for nearly 20% of new HIV diagnoses the transmission mode was not reported or was reported to be unknown. In Luxembourg, heterosexual transmission was found to be the most commonly reported known mode of transmission.
A positive evolution is that the number AIDS cases is constantly going down. However, almost half of HIV infections are diagnosed late throughout the European Region: this increases the risk of the onset of the disease, death and onward HIV transmission. ECDC and WHO now call for better prevention, diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable populations and claim that this should include migrants and refugees, irrespective of their legal status.