Interview: HIV/AIDS ‘growing rapidly’ in EU border countries

The EU should be more concerned about the fast-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in eastern Europe, says the executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, who also warns about ‘its very dangerous combination’ with drug-resistant tuberculosis in those countries.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic is growing very rapidly in the EU border countries. We are also finding a very dangerous combination of HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis that are developing at the same time, in particular in the former Soviet Union countries as well as in central Asia and Eastern Europe,” said Alvaro Bermejo the executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, a health NGO working in developing countries. 

This is “clearly a situation where the EU should be worried about, but the current level of EU funding for HIV/AIDS in these countries is incredibly low. In addition, the drug-resistant tuberculosis has no boundaries, it will, no doubt, come into the EU as well. The EU should be getting more worried.” 

“The EU has a strategy to help combat HIV/AIDS in its neighbouring countries, but still there is very little investment and there’s a difference between writing something on a piece of paper and really having a strategy,” Bermejo says. 

Asked how the EU should help these countries if more money was available, Bermejo urges the EU-27 to help fund countries’ existing national plans to combat HIV/AIDS and help involve civil society in the plans’ implementation. 

To read the full interview with Alvaro Bermejo, please click here.