A comprehensive approach to HIV/STI prevention in the context of sexual health in the EU/EEA

technical report
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. A comprehensive approach to HIV/STI prevention in the context of sexual health in the EU/EEA. Stockholm: ECDC; 2013.

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​This report highlights the benefits of a comprehensive approach to disease prevention, integrating HIV and STI control programming in Europe into broader public health strategies. Attempts to prevent HIV and STI among vulnerable groups can be more effective when seen from the context of sexual health and health promotion. This can be achieved by mapping past and current activities and identifying key stakeholders and potential data sources in the European Union and European Economic Area.

Executive summary

This report highlights the benefits of a comprehensive approach to disease prevention, integrating HIV and STI control programming in Europe into broader public health strategies, whilst recognising the linkages between different sexual health outcomes and the overlap and synergy between the interventions required to address HIV/STI and other aspects of sexual health. Groups most vulnerable to infection, including young people, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers, migrants, people living with HIV (PLHIV), populations at risk of sexual violence, and people who inject drugs (PWID) experience a range of sexual health needs. Vulnerability among these individuals is determined not only by risk behaviour, such as unprotected sex, but by social structural determinants that can affect access to healthcare and education. As poor sexual health, including HIV and STIs, is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Europe, prevention efforts need to be strengthened. 

The overall aim of this project was to increase the understanding of how HIV and STI can be prevented among vulnerable groups in the broader context of sexual health and health promotion. This aim was achieved by mapping past and current activities, key stakeholders, and potential data sources in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA).