World AIDS Day 2015

1 Dec 2015

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe launch the latest surveillance data on HIV and AIDS in the European Region. 2015 theme: Sex between men is still main transmission mode

World AIDS Day is a global health day introduced by the World Health Organization in 1988. It is observed on 1 December each year and aims at raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by HIV infection. The international symbol of HIV awareness and support is a red ribbon.

2015 theme: Sex between men is still main transmission mode

With almost 30 000 newly diagnosed infections in 2014, the HIV epidemic in the EU/EEA countries persists largely unchanged. Between 2015 and 2014, the rate of new HIV diagnoses only decreased from 6.7 to 6.4 (rates per 100 000 population).

Many European countries have had specific prevention programmes for men who have sex with men (MSM). But the number of HIV diagnoses among MSM in countries with consistent reporting has continued to increase over the last decade in all but six EU/EEA countries.
This makes sex between men the predominant mode of HIV transmission across the EU/EEA accounting for 42% of new diagnoses in 2014.

Key Messages

  • Europe has to scale up its efforts to reach out to men who have sex with men – this includes looking at new strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV.
  • In order to successfully curb the HIV epidemic in Europe, the response needs to be strengthened and tailored to each country’s specific needs.