Estonia Doing Little To Fight HIV/AIDS Despite Strong Economic Growth, Advocates Say
Some HIV/AIDS advocates in Estonia have said recently that politicians in the country are ignoring HIV/AIDS-related problems and other social issues and instead are focusing on the country's economic growth, Reuters reports. According to the U.N. Development Programme, Estonia in 2005 had an HIV prevalence of 1.3%, the highest of all European Union members. Estonia had 5,635 registered HIV cases and 125 registered AIDS cases by the end of last year, Reuters reports. The country on Sunday held parliamentary elections, and although most political parties pledged to increase the economy, which has grown more than 11% per quarter since the end of 2005, few had HIV/AIDS policies, according to Reuters. Sirle Blumberg of the Estonian AIDS Prevention Centre said that Estonia's "social side has been left behind" by the economic growth. Blumberg added that HIV is spreading from injection drug users and commercial sex workers to people ages 25 to 40 in the general population. Fear of stigma and discrimination also is fueling the epidemic, Reuters reports (Mardiste, Reuters, 3/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.