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Eastern Europe Sees A Rise in Number of HIV Cases

Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people worldwide have become infected with HIV.

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HIV AIDS, Pakistan
A patient is seen in a ward at the state-run Lavra clinic, Ukraine's main HIV treatment center, in Kyiv. VOA

More than 130,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV last year in Eastern Europe, the highest rate ever for the region, while the number of new cases in Western Europe declined, global public health experts said on Wednesday.

European Union and European Economic Area countries saw a reduction in 2017 rates, mainly driven by a 20 percent drop since 2015 among men who have sex with men. That left Europe’s overall increasing trend less steep than previously.

All told, almost 160,000 people were diagnosed in Europe with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for Europe.

HIV, AIDS
A man walks past a banner tied on a bus before the start of a charity walk on HIV/AIDS at the Ebute Mata district in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, April 21, 2012. (VOA)

“It’s hard to talk about good news in the face of another year of unacceptably high numbers of people infected with HIV,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of the WHO regional office.

Calling on governments and health officials to recognize the seriousness of the situation, she urged them: “Scale up your response now.”

The United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS warned in July that complacency was starting to stall the fight against the global epidemic, with the pace of progress not matching what is needed.

Some 37 million people worldwide are infected with HIV.

AIDS, Indonesia, HIV
Students with their faces painted with messages pose during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to mark the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, in Chandigarh, India, May 20, 2018. (VOA)

The WHO’s European Region is made up of 53 countries with a combined population of nearly 900 million. Around 508 million of those live in the 28 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The joint report said one reason for the persistence of HIV in Europe is that many people infected with the virus are diagnosed late, meaning they are more likely to have already passed it on and are also at an advanced stage of infection.

It also found that in the European region, men suffer disproportionately from HIV, with 70 percent of new HIV cases diagnosed in 2017 occurring in men.

Also Read: Experts Warn About The Return of AIDS Epidemic

Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people worldwide have become infected with HIV.

Almost half of them – 35.4 million – have died of AIDS. (VOA)

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Polish Children Have Excessive Sugar Consumption: PPOZ

Polish children biggest consumers of sugar in Europe

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Polish children sugar
Polish children are the biggest consumers of sugar in Europe with those under 10 eating 95 grams per day, or 19 teaspoons. Pixabay

Polish children are the biggest consumers of sugar in Europe with those under 10 eating 95 grams per day, or 19 teaspoons, doctors of the Alliance of Health Care Employers (PPOZ) said.

The draft law on the so-called sugar tax was adopted by the ‘Sejm’ or the lower house of Polish Parliament last week, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bill drafted by the Health Ministry was aimed at imposing additional fees on soft drinks containing sugars as a tool to fight the rapidly increasing problem of Poles being overweight or obese and diseases caused by excessive sugar consumption.

“The introduction of the sugar tax, supposed to discourage Poles from drinking sweet drinks, was advocated by the Ministry of Health, the National Health Fund, the Ministry of Finance, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO),” doctors from PPOZ said on Thursday.

Polish children sugar
Excessive consumption of sugar-based products was a cause of many diseases among Polish children. Pixabay

They added that excessive consumption of sugar-based products was a cause of many diseases of civilization.

A diet high in sugar increases the risk of diabetes. Furthermore, sugar consumption is addictive, like alcohol.

It also disturbs the endocrine system, increases oxidative stress and leads to metabolic diseases.

Research has shown that increased glycolysis (carbohydrate metabolism) can cause breast cancer, PPOZ board member Jaroslaw Krol said.

A maximum of 12 teaspoons of sugar should be consumed per day – up to 50 grams, according to the WHO, whereas the American Society of Cardiology recommends a maximum of six teaspoons per day (up to 25 grams) for women and nine (up to 37 grams) for men.

Also Read- Fat Around Arteries May Help Keep Blood Vessels Healthy: Study

Meanwhile, the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, and the Poles 24.

The PPOZ doctors added that a sugar tax was already in force in some European Union countries, and according to research, it has significantly reduced sales of sweetened drinks. (IANS)