Expert meeting: STI/HIV prevention among young people
This expert meeting was held with a view to bridge knowledge and intervention gaps in STI/HIV prevention among young people across the EU/EEA.
This expert meeting was held with a view to bridge knowledge and intervention gaps in STI/HIV prevention among young people across the EU/EEA. There was broad European country representation from experts with various backgrounds as well as participation from key international organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). During the meeting the epidemiological situation in the EU/EEA, the EU policy framework addressing HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries were presented and the participants heard about the initiatives from United Kingdom (C Card) and Sweden (Chlamydia Måndag).
The participants voted on several areas and actions for ECDC intervention, the top three being:
- To conduct a survey to identify needs and perspectives of young people (similar to EMIS);
- To collect evidence of effective use of new social media for prevention;
- To develop a repository of best practice for youth prevention interventions.
ECDC has appointed a senior expert to take on the follow-up actions. They will be developed in close consultation with the key stakeholders identified as well as the Member State experts to ensure their maximum relevance and impact.
Despite prevention efforts, young people remain disproportionately affected by sexual transmitted infections (STI) and HIV for several reasons: a) adolescent-related risk factors – physical factors (genitourinary system immaturity), cognitive development and psychosocial factors; b) decreasing age at first intercourse (although not in all countries); c) increasing number of sexual partners (including concurrent relationships); d) inconsistent condom use with new partners and e) adoption of risky lifestyle behaviour, e.g. drugs and alcohol abuse.
In 2013, young people aged 15-24 accounted for 11% of all HIV diagnoses reported to the ECDC and there are no indications of a decline. In the same year, two thirds of all chlamydia cases reported in EU/EEA were from young people aged 15-24.
The full meeting report is available upon request at STIHIVHEP@ecdc.europa.eu
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