Second European HIV testing week kicks off today
From 21 to 28 November 2014, nearly 700 organisations across Europe will host activities to increase awareness of the personal and public health benefits of HIV testing. As HIV infection can remain asymptomatic for a long time and a substantial number of infected persons across Europe are unaware of their infection, ECDC supports the aims of this second European HIV testing week.
“Our data show that every second HIV positive person in Europe is diagnosed late in the course of their infection which also means that until they have been diagnosed they can unknowingly transmit the virus”, highlights ECDC Director Marc Sprenger. “There is no cure for HIV but early diagnosis allows access to lifesaving treatment and also reduces the long term cost to the healthcare system”, Sprenger adds.
"Talk HIV. Test HIV"
The theme for European HIV testing week 2014 is ‘Talk HIV. Test HIV.’ aiming to increase positive dialogue among those who ought to be tested for HIV and those who offer tests across Europe. Bringing HIV testing closer to those at risk of HIV infection – while avoiding stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS – is still a public health challenge in the EU/EEA.
To that effect, the ECDC HIV testing guidance helps countries in their efforts to identify HIV infections early: it provides key information on why, where, how and when to test for HIV. It aims to inform existing national HIV testing strategies in Member States to adopt a strategic, evidence-based approach to develop and implement effective HIV testing procedures. Recommendations and key messages of the HIV testing week are in line with the ECDC guidance.
The European HIV testing week, organised by the HIV in Europe initiative, combines a wide range of activities taking place across Europe during the week until 28 November: a key focus this year is to encourage more healthcare professionals, who do not work in a sexual health setting, to routinely offer HIV tests where indicated. Last year, 477 participating partners from 47 of the 53 countries of the WHO European region signed up and reported a variety of testing week activities including outreach by testing in locations where hard-to-reach population groups were known to frequent or using mobile units to access known homeless areas.
- HIV testing: increasing uptake and effectiveness in the European Union
- HIV testing: increasing uptake and effectiveness in the European Union (in brief)
- Evidence synthesis for Guidance on HIV testing
- HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2011
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