Drug-related infectious diseases in Europe

Excerpts from the EMCDDA press release

Testing for drug-related infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID) is crucial if international health targets are to be met. This is among the conclusions of a new EMCDDA report Drug-related infectious diseases in Europe. The update, from the agency’s drug-related infectious disease network, stresses that early diagnosis through testing, and improving links to treatment and care, are crucial steps towards reaching global health goals.

Launched during European Testing Week (15–22 May), the report offers an overview of drug-related infectious diseases among PWID in Europe, including the prevalence and incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis. It also tracks progress on health targets and showcases successfully implemented evidence-based interventions. It underlines the need to ramp up prevention and testing and signals that European countries are lagging behind when it comes to treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV among PWID.

HIV and chronic viral hepatitis are highly prevalent among people who inject drugs, being transmitted through the sharing of injecting equipment, such as needles and syringes. Addressing the needs of this group is critical to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3), which calls for ending the AIDS epidemic and combatting viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 (SDG 3.3).

Besides data which include SEE countries which are EU members, there is a small update from neighbouring countries within the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance 7 and EU4Monitoring Drugs project:

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) 7 technical cooperation project comprises six beneficiary countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (1), Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. Data on PWID and other key populations in the region are available from RDS seroprevalence studies: Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia have conducted such surveys in the past 3 years; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia are planning to collect data in 2020. There were no HIV-positive cases among PWID in recent surveys conducted in Kosovo or North Macedonia (Mikikj, 2017); older HIV prevalence estimates among PWID ranged between 0 % in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015 (Skocibusic et al., 2016) to 2 % in Serbia in 2013 (IPH Serbia, 2013). Most recent HCV infection prevalence estimates ranged from 23.8 % in Kosovo to 72 % in North Macedonia. All six beneficiaries are signatories of the Dublin Declaration.

To read full report, follow this link>>>

 

European Testing Week 2020

European Testing Week is a European campaign that encourages partner organisations – in community, health care and policy institutions – throughout Europe to unite for one week twice a year to increase testing efforts and promote awareness on the benefits of earlier hepatitis and HIV testing. This initiative has progressed since its start in 2013 and has grown to be a widely recognised European event with hundreds of organisations participating every year.

European Testing Week offers partners across Europe the unique opportunity to unite to increase awareness of the benefits of early HIV and hepatitis testing among those who are at risk and promote increased access to testing. In 2019, more than 750 organisations from across 49 countries took part in ETW and thousands more people are now aware of their HIV and hepatitis status.

What once started as an annual event has now become a biannual event with two ETWs occurring each year in Spring (May) and Autumn (November). Each organisation volunteers their own time to organise their Testing Week activities and create incredible displays of a united effort to increase testing awareness at all organisational levels.

Now in its eighth year, the European Testing Week initiative will hold its third Spring European Testing Week from 15 – 22 May 2020.

The aim of the Spring and Autumn ETWs remain the same: to unite partner organisations throughout Europe for one week to increase access to testing and promote awareness on the benefits of earlier hepatitis and HIV testing.

There are many activities that an organisation can do for ETW. They can include activities such as:

  • Outreach testing activities for HBV/HCV/HIV
  • Awareness raising and/or advocacy initiatives
  • Engaging with HBV/HCV/HIV ambassadors or celebrities
  • Training/capacity building
  • Media campaigns and so much more!

For more information, ideas and tools to participate in the campaign, follow this link>>>

Medicines Shortage Survey

The EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, TB and Hep working group on access to medicines is inviting you to contribute to a short survey on medicines shortages for the treatment of hepatitis B&C, HIV, TB and OST in 2019. The deadline for contribution is 27 June 23:59 CET.

The data collected and summarized will be used in a meeting with the European Commission with other civil society partners on 1 July 2019 to back a request for an investigation into the causes of shortages in order to improve understanding of the situations and possible solutions.

The survey is not limited to EU countries.

Please, fill in the survey here>>>