Because it’s best to know: start of European HIV-Hepatitis testing week

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An estimated 122 000 people living with HIV across Europe are not aware of their HIV infection and a large number out of the estimated 9 million Europeans that are affected by chronic hepatitis B or C have not yet been tested or diagnosed. ECDC welcomes the efforts of European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week which starts today.

Starting today and running until 24 November 2017, more than 600 organisations all over Europe are hosting activities to increase awareness of the benefits of HIV and hepatitis testing. Both diseases can be asymptomatic for a long time and many people are unaware of their infection.

“If we want to successfully curb HIV and viral hepatitis infections, we need to close this gap between those who are diagnosed and can get treatment and those who are infected but unaware”, stresses ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. “A quick and simple blood test helps to check if you are infected or not and with that knowledge you can better protect your own health and that of others. With the European Test Finder it will not take you long to find a testing site near you”.

ECDC welcomes the efforts of European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week to increase positive dialogue among those who ought to be tested for HIV and viral hepatitis and those who offer tests across Europe, in line with the ECDC Guidance on HIV testing.

Diversifying and complementing testing opportunities is probably the best strategy to reach older adults. Testing in community setting and self-testing could be valuable additions to increase access and promote normalisation of HIV test among the population at large.

An update of the existing ECDC HIV testing Guidance is due for publication in 2018.