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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 10.08.2020, 17:58

Latvia's HIV rate remained highest in EU in 2019

BC, Riga, 01.07.2020.Print version

Although in 2019 the number of new HIV infections in Latvia dropped by 31 from a year before, the HIV rate in Latvia still remained the highest in the European Union, the Baltic HIV Association informed citing official statistics.

Experts also noted a negative trend in Latvia where too many cases are discovered belatedly. 

Last year, 295 new HIV cases were recorded in Latvia, 178 in Estonia and 151 in Lithuania. With 15.4 HIV cases per 100,000 population Latvia continued to show the highest incidence in the Baltics, with Estonia reporting 13.4 cases and Lithuania 5.4 cases per 100,000 population. 

Between 1987 and 2019, a total of 7,965 HIV cases were recorded in Latvia. 

While Estonia and Lithuania have recorded no HIV cases in newborns since 2018, Latvia reported two such cases in 2019. 

In 2019, HIV in Latvia was typically transmitted through sexual contacts - in 36% of cases HIV was passed on through heterosexual contacts and in 6 percent of cases through homosexual contacts, with women most likely to contract HIV through heterosexual contacts. In 15% of cases HIV spread through drug injection, mainly among men. In 42% of cases the vector of infection remained unknown, which made targeted prevention and containment of HIV harder. 

On the whole, HIV infections were more prevalent among men than women, with 61 percent of the new HIV cases discovered in men and 39% in women in 2019. A third of the infections were recorded in the age group of 30 to 39, but a fast increase of HIV infections was reported in people over 50 years of age (mainly through heterosexual contacts) in contrast to other age groups where infections tended to decline. 

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