“Talk HIV, test HIV”: ECDC welcomes first European HIV testing week
From 22 to 29 November 2013, the first European HIV testing week will take place with more than 400 organisations across Europe hosting activities to increase awareness of the benefits of HIV testing.
From 22 to 29 November 2013, the first European HIV testing week will take place with more than 400 organisations across Europe hosting activities to increase awareness of the benefits of HIV testing. HIV infection can remain asymptomatic for a long period of time and a substantial number of infected persons across Europe are unaware of their infection.
“As long as people are unaware of their HIV infection, they can unknowingly transmit the virus to others, such as partners and unborn children”, stresses ECDC Director Marc Sprenger. “And those who are unaware of their HIV status cannot benefit from earlier treatment which reduces the risk of HIV-related illness and further transmission of the virus. This is why we need to test more people for HIV across Europe.”
But 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.
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 first 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 29 November: from mobile testing units and extended opening hours of testing sites in many countries including Spain, Ireland, Azerbaijan, The Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine, Norway, and Republic of Macedonia; to training of medical personnel in Turkey, Belgium and Austria; to seminars and policy meetings in England, Slovenia, Lithuania and Scotland.
Read moreHIV testing: increasing uptake and effectiveness in the European UnionHIV 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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