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Wednesday, 01 December 2004

HIV/AIDS: risk to young Europeans increasing

HIV/AIDS: risk to young Europeans increasing says Markos Kyprianou
The new generation of Europeans face an unprecedented risk of catching HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. Mr. Kyprianou is due to make a statement to the European Parliament tomorrow to mark World AIDS Day. Speaking on the eve of World AIDS Day, Mr. Kyprianou said, “Teenagers and people in their early twenties, are too young to remember the safe sex campaigns of the 1980s and early 1990s. With HIV infection rates rising across our continent, urgent action is needed to avert a public health disaster”. The number of newly reported HIV cases in the EU has nearly doubled since 1996, with the most drastic increase observed in the Baltic States. The situation in neighbouring countries is equally grave. In Russia, there are almost one million people infected with HIV, 80% of which are in people under thirty. In September this year health ministers from across the EU and its neighbours met in Vilnius, Lithuania, and endorsed a strategy proposed by the Commission for fighting the AIDS epidemic in Europe