Article Text

An increase in newly diagnosed HIV cases reported among men who have sex with men in Europe, 2000–6: implications for a European public health strategy
  1. G Likatavičius1,
  2. I Klavs2,
  3. I Devaux1,
  4. J Alix1,
  5. A Nardone1
  1. 1
    EuroHIV, Department of Infectious Diseases, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France
  2. 2
    Communicable Diseases Centre, Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  1. Dr G Likatavičius, 12 rue du Val d’Osne, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, 94415 Saint-Maurice cedex, France; likagaga{at}


Objective: To present HIV surveillance data on men who have sex with men (MSM) in the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries for the period 2000–6.

Methods: Data from three sources, HIV reporting, AIDS reporting and HIV prevalence studies, were collated by EuroHIV and analysed for 27 EU and three EFTA countries.

Results: In 2006, 7693 newly diagnosed HIV infections among MSM were reported (56.7 per million men aged 15–64 years). In 23 countries with data for 2000–6, the number of new HIV diagnoses increased by 86% from 3003 to 5571. In 20 countries reporting individual HIV cases between 2000 and 2006, the median age at HIV diagnosis remained unchanged (36 years), whereas the proportion of MSM presenting with an AIDS-defining illness at the time of HIV diagnosis declined from 25% in 2000 to 10% in 2006 (χ2  =  85.7, p<0.001). In 30 countries reporting AIDS, incidence among MSM decreased by 40% from 2422 in 2000 to 1445 in 2006 and the number of deaths decreased by 57% from 876 to 373. Reported HIV prevalence ranged between 8% and 68% among MSM with sexually transmitted infections, between 10% and 18% among those recruited in community settings, but remained <10% in central Europe and Ireland.

Conclusions: Whereas the decreasing rates of AIDS diagnoses and AIDS deaths reflect relatively good access to therapy, the increasing numbers of new HIV diagnoses and relatively high prevalence of HIV among MSM suggest the need for Europe-wide HIV prevention among MSM.

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  • Funding: This work was partly supported by DG SANCO of the European Commission, contract number 2004203.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Contributors: GL analysed and interpreted the EuroHIV HIV/AIDS surveillance data and wrote the manuscript; IK, ID, JA and AN participated in the analyses, interpretation of the data and preparation of the paper.

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