Number Of New HIV Cases In EU Nearly Double

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The number of HIV cases recorded in European Union countries has nearly doubled from 28.8 cases per one million residents in 1999 to 57.7 cases per one million residents in 2006, according to a reports released Friday by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

More than 50% of cases are through heterosexual transmission, although men who have sex with men are at higher risk of infection, ECDC said. The EuroHIV data, published in ECDC's journal Eurosurveillance, found that in 2006, a total of 86,912 new HIV cases were reported across 50 of the 53 countries of the World Health Organization European Region.

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A total of 26,220 cases, or 30%, reported in EU countries, according to the data. The average rate of new HIV diagnosis across Europe is about 111 cases per one million residents, and the rate among countries in the European Union is 67 cases per one million residents.

ECDC director Zsuzsanna Jakab said the true European figures likely are much higher than estimated, adding that almost one-third of people living with HIV in Europe are unaware of their status.

Also, ECDC spokesperson Ben Duncan said in Western European countrie, such as the United kingdom and France, one of the main drivers of new cases was people migrating from HIV-endemic parts of the world.

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