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"Marginalisation" blamed for HIV epidemic

Friday June 7th, 2013

Poverty and marginalisation are playing a key role in fuelling the HIV epidemic in Europe and central Asia, experts said yesterday.

The analysis, prepared for the World Bank and the World Health Organisation, says it is not just personal behaviour that is behind the epidemic.

Rates of infection are "appalling" among some of Europe's poorest populations, the report says.

They are also appalling among "marginalised" communities of drug users in eastern Europe and central Asia, the report says, highlighting that 25% of HIV victims in Europe are injecting drug users.

Drugs are also the main reason for infection among women prostitutes, the report says.

The report says rates of infection from sex between men are much higher in western Europe than eastern Europe - representing 36% of diagnoses in the west and just 0.5% in the east.

The report was compiled with help from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Martin Donoghoe, of WHO, said: “Social exclusion is the core driver of HIV epidemics in Europe. It is a vicious circle: social marginalisation increases the risk of being affected by HIV, and HIV exacerbates social marginalisation, adding another layer of stigma.

"Exclusion from life-saving HIV prevention, treatment and care is often the end result."

Tags: Asia | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | Europe | Flu & Viruses

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