WHO recommends steps to improve HIV/AIDS control in Estonia

WHO

Estonia is among 5 European Union/European Economic Area countries with the highest rates of HIV– 24.6 per 100 000 populations in 2013. While the number of new HIV cases has been decreasing in Estonia since 2001, more needs to be done to address shortcomings in HIV/AIDS surveillance, treatment and care in order to halt the epidemic. 

These are among the conclusions of a report on HIV/AIDS treatment and care in Estonia presented on 1 October 2014 at a roundtable organized jointly with the Ministry of Social Affairs for national stakeholders.

The report is the product of a WHO country mission that took place 12–16 May 2014 to assess the achievements, strengths and shortcomings in the implementation of the Estonian national programme on HIV/AIDS treatment and care, and to generate strategic recommendations for improving key outcomes and impacts.

HIV epidemic in Estonia

The HIV epidemic in Estonia is mainly concentrated among specific most‐at‐risk subpopulations, particularly people who inject drugs, their sexual partners, commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men. But there are signs that it is increasingly affecting the general population. Moreover, people with HIV tend to be diagnosed late, a large share starts treatment late; and there are many examples of non‐adherence to treatment or long‐term treatment interruptions.

The mission’s main recommendations provided in the report include strengthening surveillance, scaling up HIV testing and introducing strategies to address insufficient enrolment and retention in HIV care.