HIV prevention programmes

Quality Action, a Joint Action of European Union member states, aimed to promote the health of the community by maximising the quality of HIV prevention projects and programmes.

Its final conference earlier this year brought together more than 120 representatives from governmental and non-governmental organisations to share their experiences in applying five quality improvement tools. Over a three year period, Quality Action has trained more than 400 prevention experts in use of these tools and there has been more than 80 practical applications of the tools across Europe.

The Quality Action Charter for Quality in HIV Prevention also provides key principles for reinforcing the effectiveness of HIV prevention through quality improvement.

To find out more about Quality Action on their website

Improving quality in HIV prevention

Quality Action is the EU co-funded ‘Joint Action on Improving Quality in HIV Prevention’ involving 45 partner organisations from 26 Member States.

It promotes practical tools and materials to maximise the quality of HIV prevention projects and programmes. Five practical quality improvement tools are ready, and more than 80 practical applications of the tools have been carried out and documented in case studies.

Quality Action has also developed a policy kit which offers concrete actions for integrating quality improvement into HIV prevention policies, strategies and action plans. The ‘Charter for Quality in HIV Prevention’ summarises quality principles, criteria and key activities to put quality improvement into practice and offer practitioners, experts, policy makers and all other stakeholders the opportunity to commit to improving their work in HIV prevention.

More information about Quality Action on the website

Highest number of new HIV cases in Europe

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 website

HIV/AIDS in Europe

Although HIV is preventable through effective public health measures, significant HIV transmission continues in Europe. In 2014, almost 30 000 people were diagnosed in the European Union and European Economic Area Member States; a rate of 6.4 cases in every 100 000 people.

This report, prepared jointly with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, presents data on HIV and AIDS for the whole European Region, including the EU and EEA countries. Analyses are provided for the EU and EEA region, and also by geographical/epidemiological division of the WHO European Region.

To download the report from the website

Tackling HIV Stereotypes: targeting late diagnosis across demographics

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.

IMPRESS Health 2

Impress health 2 logo

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

Sexually transmitted diseases

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