Lithuania Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Lithuania, the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS under the Ministry of Health collects aggregated nationwide diagnostic data on new cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Lithuania (%)
  Region HCV HIV
Data from 2014.
National : :
Sub-national 77 12.5

The available data on new HIV cases notified in 2015-17 indicate a significant increase. Overall, the proportion of new HIV cases linked to injecting drug use in Lithuania increased from 30 % in 2015 to 62 % in 2017, in parallel with an increase observed in prisons. Moreover, with 47.8 notifications per million population in 2017, Lithuania is among the European countries with the highest rate of newly reported HIV-positive cases linked to injecting. Some data on acute HBV and HCV infections resulting from injecting drug use are also available from notifications; however, in the majority of the cases, risk factors are not reported.

Some estimates exist of HIV prevalence rates among subgroups of people who inject drugs. In 2014, among a total of 200 clients of harm reduction programmes in three cities (Alytus, Visaginas, Klaipeda), HIV prevalence was 12.5 % and HCV antibody prevalence was 77 %, while 10.5 % of those tested were positive for HBV surface antigen (i.e. indicating a current infection).

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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.