Infectious diseases of poverty 2017 10 116(1) 145 doi 10.1186/s40249-017-0360-9
Before 2014 (the year of closure of the two largest needle exchange programs in Hungary, which halved the number of available syringes in the country despite increased injecting risk practices) no HIV was reportedly acquired in Hungary among people who inject drugs (PWIDs) who were not also men who had sex with other men (MSM). In 2014, one and in 2015 two non-MSM PWIDs were newly diagnosed with HIV who supposedly became infected in Hungary, and both incident HIV cases in 2015 were diagnosed in the AIDS stage. In addition, two new (albeit supposedly imported) non-MSM PWID cases were also registered in the first three quarters of 2016, one of which subsequently was diagnosed with and then died of AIDS. At the same time, the prevalence of HCV doubled among PWIDs (from 24% to 49% in Hungary and from 34% to 61% in Budapest).
The case that we discuss in this paper is a male PWID, who was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in May of 2015 and then died of AIDS the next month. His HIV infection status was detected with delay, and then appeared in the official statistics as an incident PWID HIV case and an incident PWID AIDS case, but not as an incident PWID AIDS death. No contact tracing followed, even though it would have been relatively easy considering the circumstances. To our knowledge, no HIV post-exposure protocol exists in hospitals, in case of HIV exposure due to an eventual needle-stick injury.
Our paper draws attention to recently published HIV and AIDS surveillance data, and shows the failure of the system. While sounding the alarm based on three newly detected PWID HIV cases in the past 2 years may be premature, there are definitely serious problems in the HIV detection and tracing system among PWIDs in Hungary.