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HIV Epidemic in Europe

This article, posted by Sputnik International touches on a study completed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that found surprising results in terms of the number of new cases of HIV. One of the more surprising statistics was that just between 2007 and 2015 there was a 50% increase in the number of new cases per year. Only 18.2 new cases were identified per 100,000 people, which is a relatively low percentage of the total population, but there also may be a lot more unaccounted for cases that are not included in that data. In 2016 alone, over 160,000 people throughout Europe contracted HIV, which leads towards AIDS that has no definitive cure and can be deadly. It takes about three years to get AIDS after HIV, which is likely long enough to prevent or stop if treated early, but if one does not know or care that he or she has HIV, then getting AIDS eventually is almost certain.

When we relate the topic of this article to what we learned in class about epidemics we see a close relation and can understand at a deeper level why more people are contracting HIV. From the formulae we learned in class we know that the number of people one affects is R=pk where R is the average number of people one will affect with HIV, p is the probability of contagion which in this case is the probability that in an encounter one transfers HIV and k is the number of people that one affects on average. With HIV, the p value is quite high and is relatively constant, but the k value changes. Thus we can conclude that either infected people are infecting more people and do not realize they have it or more interactions are happening in general. We know that if R is greater than 1 than the epidemic will spread so if the number of people is increasing at a high rate like the study found, R must be greater than 1 for Europe and HIV is spreading as opposed to if R were less than 1 it would be decreasing faster than it was growing.


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