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HIV infections remain to be of major public health importance in Europe, with evidence of increasing transmission in several European countries. A total of 25,656 diagnosed cases of HIV infection were reported for 2008 by the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA); data were not available from Austria, Denmark or Liechtenstein. The highest rates were reported by Estonia, Latvia, Portugal and the United Kingdom. In the EU/EEA, the predominant mode of transmission for HIV infection was sex among men who have sex with men (MSM, 40%) followed by heterosexual contact (29%), when cases in persons originating from countries with generalised epidemics were excluded. Injecting drug use accounted for 6% of the reported cases. Overall, despite incomplete reporting, the number of HIV cases in 2008 has increased while the number of reported AIDS cases continued to decline except in the Baltic States. The data presented have some limitations, due to missing data from a number of countries, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn with respect to the size of the HIV and AIDS epidemics in Europe.


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