Estonia Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Estonia, the Health Board collects national data on drug-related infectious diseases, which are complemented by data from prevalence and behavioural surveillance studies among people who inject drugs (PWID) in three cities. Injecting drug use has been a key driver of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in Estonia, although in recent years the proportion of new cases of HIV infection attributed to injecting drug use has remained fairly stable at around 12 %. The annual number of new cases of HIV infection attributed to injecting has also fallen since 2010, from 118 in that year to 14 in 2017. Nevertheless, the rate of newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection among PWID in Estonia remains one of the highest in Europe.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Estonia (%)
  Region HCV HIV
Data from 2017.
National : :
Sub-national 89.3 53.6

Regional studies carried out among PWID indicate a high prevalence of all drug-related infectious diseases among this group, with more than half infected with HIV. The prevalence of HIV infection remained stable in Tallinn between 2013 and 2017. In Tallinn, almost 90 % of PWID included in a 2017 seroprevalence study tested positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies. Based on the same study, it is estimated that the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection (based on HBsAg) was 8 % among PWID.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.