Nearly one in six new HIV diagnoses in Europe are among people over 50

Based on data reported to ECDC between 2004 and 2015, 312 501 new HIV diagnoses were reported in younger adults (15 to 49 years of age) in the EU/EEA, resulting in an average reported incidence of new diagnoses of 11.4 per 100 000 population. During this 12-year period, 54 102 cases were reported among older adults aged over 50 years translating into 2.6 per 100 000 population. The rate of newly reported cases increased by 2% each year among older adults since 2004, when 3 132 diagnoses were notified in this age group. By 2015, around every one in six (17%) of newly diagnosed HIV in Europe were among people aged over 50, accounting for 5076 reported cases.

To read more about HIV diagnoses among people over 50 go to the ECDC website: https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/ecdc-study-nearly-one-six-new-hiv-diagnoses-europe-are-among-people-over-50

Living longer, healthier lives

Health-care systems must serve all people at all ages and leave no one behind – this idea is embedded in the core vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the world marks International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, WHO will launch new guidelines on integrated care for older people (ICOPE) to support the work of Member States towards creating more integrated, person-centred health and long-term care for people at all ages.

The guidelines, which will launch during a high-level meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on 2 October 2017, offer evidence-based guidance to health-care providers on the appropriate approaches at the community level to detect and manage important declines in physical and mental capacities, and to deliver interventions in support of caregivers.

To read more about this initiative on the WHO/Europe website go to: WHO/Europe | Healthy ageing – Living longer, healthier lives – working towards integrated, people-centred care for older persons

Key facts about falls

The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its fact sheet on falls. Key facts include:

  • Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.
  • Each year an estimated 646 000 individuals die from falls globally of which over 80% are in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Adults older than 65 years of age suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
  • 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention occur each year.
  • Prevention strategies should emphasize education, training, creating safer environments, prioritizing fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk.

To read more on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs344/en/

Longer life, but not necessarily healthier life

Life expectancy now exceeds 80 years in most EU countries according to the new report “Health at a Glance: Europe 2016“, but these are not always healthy life years. Around 50 million people in the EU suffer from several chronic diseases, and more than half a million people of working age die from them every year, representing an annual cost of some €115 billion for EU economies. Three fundamental changes are needed if this is going to change:

  • more effective health systems: 550,000 people of working age die every year from potentially avoidable diseases. 16% of adults are obese now (up from 11% in 2000) and one in five is still smoking. Many lives could be saved firstly, by focusing more resources on health promotion and disease prevention strategies and secondly, by improving the quality of acute and chronic care.
  • more accessible health systems: 27% of patients go to A & E due to the lack of availability of primary care; an average of 15% of health spending is paid directly out-of-pocket by patients with large disparities between countries; and poor Europeans are on average 10 times more likely to have problems in getting proper healthcare for financial reasons than more affluent ones. Member States’ policies should focus on reducing financial barriers to healthcare, strengthening access to primary care, and reducing excessive waiting times.
  • more resilient health systems: Across the EU the share of the population over 65 has increased from less than 10% in 1960 to nearly 20% in 2015 and is projected to increase to nearly 30% by 2060. Population ageing, combined with increasing rates of chronic diseases and budgetary constraints, will require changes in how we deliver healthcare, including developing eHealth, reducing hospital stays by organising services better in primary and community care, and spending more wisely on pharmaceuticals, including by making full use of opportunities for generic substitutions.

More information about Improving Health Systems on the europa.eu website

Sexual health in the over 50s

People in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s are having sex with new partners but many don’t think safer sex applies to them, perhaps because they are past child-bearing age and/or because they have recently come out of a long-term relationship and haven’t had to think about safe sex issues for many years.

As a result, sexually transmitted infections are increasing in this age group. However many older adults missed out on safe sex education and the result is they are diagnosed with an STI when it is too late to benefit from the medications available for treatment of diseases in their early stages.

This project (SHIFT) is looking for funding from the Interreg 2Seas programme to raise awareness and knowledge of both clinicians and the general public so that attitudes are changed, the older generation is engaged and empowered through the provision of better information, and delivery strategies are improved.

This will lead to reduced rates of STIs, and therefore lower health care costs and a better trained healthcare workforce able to offer fit-for-purpose services.

We are actively looking for partners but already have interest from Medway Council, Canterbury Christ Church University, KCC, KentCHT, Brighton and Hove and the Metro charity in the UK as well as Eurasante in France and Vives in Belgium.

European strategy for women’s health

Just over half of the 900 million people living in the WHO European Region (463 million) are women and they are living longer than men. Their life expectancy is also increasing but these extra years (women’s “mortality advantage”) are not necessarily healthy years: on average, women spend 10 years in ill health.

The main causes of ill health and death among women differ across life stages and countries. Physical health conditions dominate in early life; depressive and anxiety disorders develop among young women moving into adult life; and lower back pain, ischaemic heart disease and cancers are more prevalent in older age.

Health inequities among women both within and between countries in the Region are large and unjustifiable. Equal access to health services has not been achieved for women living in rural areas, those from minority groups or those who are migrants, refugees or asylum seekers.

WHO/Europe is drawing on the evidence and experience of key experts in women’s health from national and local governments, academia, United Nations agencies, civil society and other partners to develop a European strategy for women’s health.

This strategy will focus on the determinants of women’s health, without necessarily comparing women with men. The aim is to inspire governments and stakeholders to work towards improving women’s and girls’ health and well-being beyond issues of reproductive, maternal and child health. The strategy will encourage taking action to reduce health inequities for women by, for example, eliminating discriminatory values, norms and practices; tackling the impact of gender and social, economic, cultural and environmental determinants; and improving health system responses to women’s health and well-being.

To read Beyond the mortality advantage:investigating women’s health in Europe on the who.int website

 

Innovation partnership on active and healthy ageing

A new portal has been launched for the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA).

The partnership is active in the context of the EU Innovation Union to gather key stakeholders from the public and private sectors including end users, public authorities, industry, and researchers to work together towards innovative solutions that meet the needs of ageing population. In this sense, the portal aims to act as a communication and information hub to meet and exchange ideas with peers, to get information about funding opportunities or EIP on AHA Action Groups, and to look for potential partners on innovative AHA projects.

Various tools have been (and will be) developed to enhance the current planning processes.

To find out more about EIP on AHA, on the ec.europa.eu website

Global survey of assistive technology

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global survey to gather views on the most necessary and useful assistive technologies such as hearing aids, wheel chairs and personal alarms.

The survey will feed into the first ever WHO mandated list of essential assistive technologies to provide a tool for governments. Governments can use the list to plan and focus efforts to help populations acquire the 50 priority products, thereby improving the everyday lives of the elderly and people with disabilities.

These practical tools – some low, some higher technologies – are becoming increasingly necessary to the many people in high- and middle-income countries who are living longer due to better healthcare. Similar devices are used by people with disabilities, allowing them to live more autonomously and participate in their communities.

However, such tools are not readily available everywhere. WHO estimates that only 1 out of 10 people who need these vital supports are accessing them today, due to lack of availability and awareness, and high costs. The aim is to increase access to assistive technologies for 1 billion people who need them today, and to reach 1.5 billion by 2030.

To read more about the survey and, if you wish, take part on the who.int website

Sustainable Tailored Integrated Care for older people in Europe

The SUSTAIN project aims to improve integrated care for older people living at home with multiple health and social care needs. It will last four years and is divided into three interrelated phases (preparation, research implementation, and translation to products).

A European multidisciplinary partnership has come together to improve established integrated care initiatives for this client group and to ensure that any improvements to the integrated care initiatives are applicable and adaptable to other health systems and regions in Europe.

To learn more about the SUSTAIN project on the sustain-eu.org website