Eastern Europe & Central Asia 31
AIDS in East Europe and Central Asia (ECA). The factors that contributed to HIV/AIDS epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (also referred to as the "ECA" countries), have been triggered by the break up of the USSR and Eastern block countries during the late 1980's. The AIDS epidemic itself gained foothold itself in the early 1990s. By 1995, HIV has started to spread at an alarming rate among injecting drug users (IDUs) in cities of several Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union (NIS) -- Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine -- where most cases of HIV/AIDS continue to be today. The epidemic in the region is concentrated among young people, especially young men. In Kaliningrad, Russia, 90% of those infected are <35 years, more than 60% are < 25 yo.
The national rates remain low (less than 1%) among the general population. What worrisome is the high rate of increase of HIV infection especially during the past few years. There are about 700,000 cases of HIV/AIDS in the ECA countries, approximately a quarter of these infections are believed to have occurred during the past three years. In 1999, the Russian Federation itself recorded the world's highest rate of HIV infection, where the proportion of the population living with HIV doubled between 1997-1999.