New York Times Examines ‘Concentrated’ HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Estonia
The New York Times on Sunday examined Estonia's "concentrated" HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is spreading through injection drug use and "threaten[s]" to spread to the general population through unprotected sex. For more than 10 years, only a few people tested HIV-positive in Estonia; however, the country now has the highest HIV prevalence rate among the former Soviet countries, with nearly 4,000 HIV-positive people out of a population of 1.4 million in 2003, according to the Times. Estonia now is trying "to shake off outmoded assumptions about sex, drugs and AIDS," and the country is working to fight the disease through needle-exchange programs, sex education and public service announcements, the Times reports. "It is difficult to change the way of thinking of the community because when the epidemic started, everyone was talking about how it was a problem of homosexual men, then Russian-speaking, unemployed, IV drug users," Heli Pallo of the country's National Institute for Health Development, which oversees Estonia's AIDS program, said (Alvarez, New York Times, 2/15). The complete article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.