With HIV infection diagnosed in over 142,000 people in 2014, the WHO European Region recorded the highest number of newly diagnosed infections in 1 year since the start of reporting in the 1980s. The most recent data indicates that the growth of the HIV epidemic is driven by the eastern part of the Region, where the number of new diagnoses has more than doubled during the past decade.
Heterosexual transmission is responsible for the increase in eastern Europe, and transmission through drug injection remains substantial. In the EU and the EEA, sex between men is the predominant mode of HIV transmission. Two in three new HIV infections are among native-born Europeans, while foreign-born individuals, including migrants, represent only one third of HIV diagnoses.
During the past decade, the number of diagnoses of HIV infection in migrants in Europe has declined sharply, and evidence shows that a significant proportion acquire HIV after arrival in Europe.
Almost half of HIV infections throughout the European Region are diagnosed late: this increases the risks for ill health, death and HIV transmission. The high number of AIDS cases in the eastern part of the Region confirms the role of late HIV diagnosis, delayed initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and low treatment coverage.
The number of AIDS cases is going down continuously in the EU and EEA. But two thirds of AIDS diagnoses reported in 2014 occurred at the time of or shortly after the HIV diagnosis, indicating that the immune system of these people had already started to fail. Migrants are more likely to have a late diagnosis, but only half of EU and EEA countries provide free treatment for undocumented migrants.
To read more about HIV in Europe on the euro.who.int website
March 2015. This was the closing conference of the IMPRESS Health 2 project.
The programme includes speaker details and the presentations are listed in the order they were delivered.
2011 – 2015 This project brought together partners from the Picardie region of France with colleagues in Kent and Medway to help identify the reasons behind late diagnosis of HIV and how to promote earlier testing. It was part of the Interreg IVA France (Channel) England programme, co-financed by the ERDF, and worked with local authorities, charities and healthcare organisations on both side of the Channel, bringing nearly £1 million of funding into the public health sector over its two year lifetime.
In 2012, 118 people were diagnosed with HIV in Kent and Medway and for more than half of these people, the diagnosis came at a late stage in their illness. Late diagnosis is one of the biggest contributing factors to illness and death for people with HIV. If someone is diagnosed a long time after they have been infected, it is more likely that the virus will have already seriously damaged their immune system. Early diagnosis is important so people can start treatment if they need to, look after their own health and take steps to ensure they don’t pass the virus on.
The project partners carried out research to identify the factors behind late diagnosis in Kent, Medway and Picardie and also piloted innovative ways to promote earlier HIV testing, which will contribute to the better health of the population in their cross border region. The research study was guided by Canterbury Christ Church University, and Professor Annmarie Ruston, Head of the Centre for Health and Social Care Research, has said ‘this study is valuable for Kent and Medway as it has the potential to improve the health outcomes for patients with HIV, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment.’
We were the lead partner for this project, with English co-partners Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council Public Health, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and the Medway NHS Foundation Trust. Our French partners were the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire d’Amiens, Instance Regionale d’Education et de Promotion de la Sante du Picardie and Association Aides.
A closing conference “Tackling HIV Stereotypes” was held in the spring of 2015 and the final report Targeting late diagnosis of HIV in Kent, Medway and Picardie was produced in the summer of 2015.
For more information, visit the IMPRESS website on impresshealth2.eu
The European Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the WHO Regional Office were among the organisations taking part in an HIV/AIDS think tank in early July.
To see the presentations and read the reports, click here on http://ec.europa.eu
2005 – 2007 This project, developed in partnership with Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership and the Conseil général de la Somme, was a two year action research project exploring the values and attitudes of groups of teenagers and professionals to sex and relationships, sexual health and teenage pregnancy. This information will be used by young people and professionals to develop new ways of looking at education and health services, with the aim of tackling teenage pregnancy.
Young people in Kent and the Somme took part in focus group meetings to discover these attitudes and a young people’s advisory group participated in the development of the interventions. By involving young people directly in this work, a better understanding of the complex influences on their behaviour was gained so that the resource developed were as relevant and influential as possible.
The projects also involved workshops and focus groups for professionals across Kent and the Somme, to discover professional perceptions of young people’s attitudes and to map out the work currently being undertaken in this area. This information served to highlight any attitudinal mismatch between young people and professionals and indicated where there are gaps in service provision. Professionals also had an opportunity to participate in the development of the interventions through an advisory group.
Key partners were the Health & Europe Centre; the Centre for Health Services Studies (CHSS) at the University of Kent, Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership; Kent County Council, and the respective Primary Care Trusts. Key partners in the Somme were the departments for maternity and child welfare, education, social services and health education.