The number of people infected with HIV in Europe and nearby nations has risen 8 percent in the past year, with the majority of cases in eastern Europe and central Asia.
The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Wednesday showing that some 131,000 new HIV infections were reported in the region in 2012. The report said the rise in cases in the East indicates late diagnosis, low treatment coverage, and delayed initiation of life-saving treatments.
The report noted that some 76,000 new HIV infections were reported in Russia alone.
Experts say the sharp increase – especially in former Soviet republics – is linked to a lack of prevention measures for people at high risk of contracting the virus.
The center’s director, Marc Sprenger, said HIV testing needs to be more available across Europe to ensure earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment.