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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
HIV, TB Concern European Health Officials
Doug Mellgren
October 24, 2003
Associated Press (10.23.03) - Friday, October 24, 2003

Leading European health officials will gather in Oslo next week to address the severe health problems facing Russia and the Baltic states, including HIV and TB.

Vast differences in income, health care and cases of infectious diseases remain between wealthy northwestern Europe and the former Soviet Bloc. Per capita earnings in the Nordic countries can be 10 to 15 times those of Russia, Latvia, Estonia or Lithuania, said Joergen Kaurin of Norway's health ministry.

In 2001, Norwegians had a life expectancy of 79 years, compared to 65.3 years in neighboring Russia, according to the World Health Organization. In the same year, Estonia reported 1,470 new HIV/AIDS cases - more than nearby Finland has reported in its history, even though Finland has more than three times as many residents. In 2000, Norway reported 4.9 cases of TB per 100,000 people, compared to 94.6 cases in Russia, according to WHO.

The meeting's final declaration, which Kaurin said will likely be accepted without change, identifies two key project areas: prevention of major public health problems and promotion of social well-being. The meeting is not expected to pledge funding, but to start programs designed to help eastern countries reform their health systems, import expertise and deal with the causes of disease.