From diagnosis to live-saving treatment: testing is the first step
Starting today, some 400 organisations Europe-wide are hosting activities to increase awareness of the benefits of HIV and hepatitis testing.
Starting today, some 400 organisations Europe-wide are hosting activities to increase awareness of the benefits of HIV and hepatitis testing. These diseases can be asymptomatic for a long time and many people are unaware of their infection. From 20 to 27 November 2015, ECDC supports European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week and makes it easier for everyone to locate the nearest HIV testing site in Europe with the newly-launched HIV Test Finder.
“In Europe, an estimated 10 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C but most of them do not know it. Our data also show that every second HIV diagnosis happens late – which also means these people can unknowingly pass the virus on to others. If we want to successfully curb HIV and viral hepatitis infections, we need to close this gap between those who are diagnosed and can get treatment and those who are infected but unaware”, stresses ECDC Acting Director Andrea Ammon.
Viral hepatitis is preventable and curable. While there is currently no cure for HIV, early diagnosis allows access to lifesaving treatment and also reduces the long term cost to the healthcare system. But reaching and testing those at risk is still a public health challenge across Europe which is why ECDC supports the efforts of the European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week that now includes testing for hepatitis.
The theme for European HIV testing week 2015 is ‘Test. Treat. Prevent.’ aiming to increase positive dialogue among those who ought to be tested for HIV and viral hepatitis and those who offer tests across Europe. Bringing testing closer to those at risk of infection while avoiding stigmatisation and discrimination is still a public health challenge in the EU/EEA.
Where to test Find out with the European HIV Testing Finder
The 2014 results from ECDC’s monitoring of the implementation of the Dublin Declaration on HIV/AIDS show that too few countries have programmes to increase availability and encourage uptake of testing for key populations like men who have sex with men or people who inject drugs.
The European HIV Test Finder makes it a lot easier to locate an HIV testing site within the region: all that is needed is a post code or city name to find information about the nearest testing site. “A quick and simple blood test helps to check if you are infected or not and with that knowledge you can better protect your own health and that of others. Whether on your computer or on your mobile phone, with the European HIV Test Finder it will not take you long to find a testing site near you”, explains Ammon.
To help countries in their efforts to identify HIV infections early, the ECDC HIV testing guidance 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.
HIV testing in Europe evidence brief (Monitoring implementation of the Dublin Declaration on partnership to fight HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia – 2014 progress report)HIV testing: increasing uptake and effectiveness in the European Union (in brief)Surveillance Report: HIV/AIDS Surveillance in Europe 2013
ECDC and WHO call for improved HIV testing in Europe
26 Nov 2020 - The number of people living with undiagnosed HIV is increasing in the WHO European Region. According to data published today by ECDC and the WHO/Europe, more than 136 000 people were newly diagnosed in 2019 – roughly 20% of these were diagnosed in the EU/EAA and 80% in the eastern part of the European Region. Every second HIV diagnosis (53%) happens at a late stage of the infection, when the immune system has already started to fail. This is a sign that testing strategies in the Region are not working properly to diagnose HIV early.
World AIDS Day 2020: The way towards 2030: diversified testing to diagnose HIV early
1 Dec 2020 to 1 Dec 2020 - One of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals is to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Still, 2 094 AIDS cases were reported in the EU/EEA during 2019. This shows a significant problem with late diagnosis of HIV infection. Detecting HIV only years after the infection is one reason for on-going transmission in Europe. One in every four AIDS cases occurred long after HIV diagnosis, indicating insufficient linkage to HIV care, access to antiretroviral treatment and adherence support.
Viral hepatitis: Europe needs to close the testing gap
27 Jul 2020 - Approximately four in five people living with hepatitis B and three out of four people with hepatitis C infection across the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and the UK have not yet been diagnosed. This is a major obstacle on the way towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for health in 2030 as highlighted by ECDC on occasion of World Hepatitis Day.