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Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — October–December 2007

HIV: overall positive assessment

The rate of HIV transmission among injecting drug users (IDUs) was low in most EU countries in 2005. This positive picture can be seen in the context of greater availability of prevention, treatment and harm-reduction measures and declining popularity of drug injecting in some countries. With the expansion of services, the HIV epidemics seen earlier in Europe seem largely to have been avoided.

According to the Annual report: 'The situation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania remains a concern, but here again most of the recent data point to a relative decrease in new infections'. As a result of lower rates of transmission, the overall burden of infection resulting from injecting drug use is likely to be falling, especially in areas of high prevalence.

Although injecting drug use has become less important as a route of HIV transmission, the EMCDDA estimates that, in 2005, it still accounted for some 3 500 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the EU. This figure may be low by historical standards, yet it still represents a considerable public health problem. The report states that between 100 000 and 200 000 people who have ever injected drugs are living with HIV. The hepatitis C virus (HCV), however, is more prevalent among IDUs in the EU than HIV and more evenly distributed. The EMCDDA estimates that around 1 million people who have ever injected drugs are living with HCV.


Drugnet Europe is the EMCDDA's newsletter launched in September 1996. The newsletter provides regular and succint information on the Centre's projects and activities to a broad readership.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 06 November 2007