The HIV diagnosis rate in Europe has reached its highest figure ever, with 142,000 new diagnoses of the virus in 2014, Reuters reports. Surveillance data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe suggest that the recent increase is driven by the eastern part of the region, in which the number of annual HIV diagnoses has more than doubled in the past decade.

HIV primarily transmits among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Transmission among heterosexuals accounts for the recent increases in diagnoses in Eastern Europe, where injection drug use is another major driver of the epidemic. Two-thirds of new infections in the EU and EEA are among natives to the region, with the remainder occurring among migrants.

The epidemic is shifting unevenly among EU and EEA nations, with the rate of new cases doubling in some countries since 2004 while dropping by 25 percent in others. During that time, the number of new diagnoses among migrants fell dramatically. Research suggests that a significant proportion of migrants who contract HIV do so after arriving in Europe. All but six nations in the region saw increases in the number of new HIV cases among MSM since 2004.

Nearly half of individuals diagnosed with HIV in Europe find out they are HIV positive late in the course of their infection. While the number of AIDS cases in the region has been steadily dropping, two-thirds of recent AIDS diagnoses were made not long after an HIV diagnosis.

To read the Reuters article, click here.

To read a WHO press release on the report, click here.