REVIEW – November 2018

Epidemiological situation and testing of HIV

Authors: Kristi Rüütel

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The aim of the article was to provide an overview of the epidemiological situation and testing of HIV in Estonia, based on surveillance and research data. In 2017, 16.6 new HIV cases per 100,000 population were diagnosed, which places Estonia second in the European Union after Latvia. The mean age of the newly diagnosed HIV cases has increased up to 38 years. Hetero- and homosexual transmission has increased. It is estimated that there are 6,000–7,000 people living with HIV in Estonia, among whom approximately one thousand are not aware of their infection. The proportion of the people tested for HIV has increased, which means that the reduction in new cases is not related to the decrease in testing. At the same time, approximately 5% of the persons newly diagnosed with HIV have concurrent AIDS. Three fourths of the tested people are female (who are tested mostly because of pregnancy), but only 40% of the newly diagnosed HIV cases involve women. HIV testing in HIV indicator conditions is limited. People with HIV receive different health care services repeatedly before being diagnosed with HIV. It can be concluded that there are many missed opportunities for early HIV diagnoses and thereby prevention. More attention should be paid to testing 16–49year old men and all persons in HIV risk groups. The analysis based on Estonian data confirms that regular testing is costeffective and helps prevent new HIV cases.