ASHM Report Back

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

Epidemiological Challenges in Europe

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Dr Anastasia Pharris from ECDC in Stockholm gave a detailed and insightful presentation on the state of HIV in Europe.


Current situation 

  • Globally HIV incidence is decreasing due to ART and viral suppression, but Europe is still increasing, mainly in the east
  • 80% of new HIV infections in Europe in 2015 were in Eastern Europe and mostly attributable to IDU but this is declining over time
  • MSM may be under-reported in the East
  • Mother to child transmission is very low in virtually all countries

Is Europe's response to HIV sufficient?

  • Probably not as many people are diagnosed too late
  • There is a big move now to test and treat regardless of CD4 but in undocumented migrants this falls short
  • Viral suppression is achieved in many countries, but Russia and the East are well below targets

Challenges and opportunities moving forwards

  • Europe needs to implement what they already know works
  • Harm reduction coverage remains low in parts of Europe and should be improved
  • Changing the culture of testing to community based, home sampling and non-medical staff will expand in the next 10 years
  • Many countries are still on the fence about PrEP, particularly in the East
  • 2/3 countries in Europe report that funds for HIV prevention are insufficient to implement the necessary prevention strategies
  • Low cost interventions should be utilised to target populations at risk e.g. Health promotion through apps (I will discuss an interesting poster about this in a later post)

Stigma remains an issue and Europe is not addressing this adequately

This was a very interesting discussion and there are points to consider in the Australian context – the use of mobile technologies and partnering with the private sector in this space; maximising access to harm reduction strategies as we know this works; and looking at expanded opportunities for testing outside the medical model to engage high risk populations.






Tagged in: EACS 2017
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