REVIEW – December 2007

20 years of HIV infection in Estonia


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HIV infection in Estonia has been diagnosed since 1987. During 20 years 6263 cases of HIV infection have been detected here. Of these cases 37% have been detected with anonymous testing. A total of 3962 infected persons have been identified. Epidemic outbreaks of HIV infection among intravenous drug-users were noticed in the eastern part of the country in 2000. Today the epidemic has spread throughout northern Estonia. The activity of testing the infection is too low in the eastern part of the country. Routine opt-out screening of all persons in health care settings should be promoted in Estonia because of the high prevalence of HIV infection.
The main way of transmission of the infection is use of i/v drugs but the number of cases transmitted by sexual way is increasing. As the vertical transmission of HIV is still too high in Estonia, more attention should be paid to the risk group of infected pregnant women. Seventy-nine per cent of HIV infected persons have visited specialists of Infectious Diseases but too many patients present too late, already with the advanced disease. Altogether 732 patients receive antiretroviral treatment in Estonia and the number of persons starting the treatment is increasing by up to 30 patients every month.