HIV, Viral hepatitis, and Tuberculosis

HIV is still on the rise in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). This is the only region in the world where the HIV epidemic continues to rise rapidly, with a 59% increase in annual new HIV infections in past years. Elsewhere in the world, the number of HIV incidents is either dropping or staying on the same level. The epidemic in EECA is mostly concentrated among key populations – especially, people who inject drugs.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. The 5 main strains of hepatitis viruses are A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B and C affect millions of people in Europe. Two-thirds of infected persons in the region live in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Hepatitis C has become a more serious issue in the EECA region. With prevalence as high at 80-90% among people who use drugs, who inject drugs in the world.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the main health concerns in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The EECA region has the world’s highest prevalence rates of multi-drug-resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB which do not respond to first-line treatment. Besides, tuberculosis is expected to increase significantly in the region if adequate measures are not taken to halt their spread and to treat those already infected. In Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries, labor migrants arriving especially to Russia and Kazakhstan are facing great difficulties in accessing quality health services, including TB services. TB is estimated to cause more than 40 new cases and 4 deaths every hour in the EECA region. The prevalence of TB in the region and the growing problem of MDR-TB render prevention, treatment, and care for it among people living with HIV is extremely important.

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