HepHIV 2021 Lisbon & Virtual Conference

The next HepHIV conference will take place 5-7 May 2021 in a mixed face-to-face and virtual format involving participants from across community, public health and the health system.

The conference will focus on the latest evidence, best practices, achievements and challenges in the field of viral hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention, testing and care, highlighting progress achieved in testing policy implementation since the ECDC integrated testing guidance was released in 2018. The conference will also specifically address the impact of and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic on the availability and provision of testing and other health services.

Abstract submission is now open with abstract deadline on 7 February, 2021. HepHIV abstracts should contain original material from recent work that is not yet in publication. The HepHIV conference encourages research on testing and linkage to care as well as best practice examples and lessons learned, also in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also abstracts on integrated testing and linkage to care of key populations within the fields of viral hepatitis, HIV, STIs and TB are encouraged.

The abstract categories are:

  1. Integrated testing programmes for hepatitis/HIV/TB/STI/TB
  2. Innovative testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic; lessons learned, including community engagement in COVID-19 testing
  3. New testing and sampling technologies to increase testing coverage, e.g. home-based HIV testing/sampling, finger prick, oral fluid, urine etc.; obstacles overcome
  4. Combination prevention for hepatitis/HIV/TB/STI in the COVID/post-COVID era
  5. PrEP integration with combination prevention, including PrEP for heterosexual men, women, trans people and other underserved potential PrEP users
  6. Models of testing and linkage to care for PWID and PWUD
  7. Testing implementation in prisons and other closed settings
  8. Engagement and integration of marginalised populations to develop innovative testing programmes which address multiple vulnerabilities

The overall objective of EuroTEST is to ensure that people living with HIV, viral hepatitis, STIs or TB have access to testing and enter care earlier in the course of their infection than is currently the case, as well as to study the decrease in the proportion presenting late for care. The initiative, originally named HIV in Europe, began in 2007 as way to bring attention to the importance of earlier diagnosis and care for people living with HIV. Although the initiative started with a HIV focus, the growing evidence has shown that HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C share overlaps in the modes of transmission and affect common key populations therefore, the initiative made a concerted effort in 2013 to also prioritise hepatitis. Since its initiation, HIV in Europe has built a European platform where independent experts from civil society, policy institutions, health care and European public health institutions to work toward influencing policy, knowledge sharing and building the evidence-base to support earlier diagnosis and care of HIV and viral hepatitis across Europe.

To get more information and send and abstract, please follow the Conference link>>>.

 

Collection of models of good practice

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Guidance Prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs identifies good practice for prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs. This guidance aims to support policy makers in Europe to plan adequate, evidence-based, pragmatic, and rationally designed public health responses for the prevention and control of infections among people who inject drugs. It aims at public health programme planners and decision makers working in the fields of infectious diseases, general public health, addiction and mental healthcare, social services, and drug control at national and regional levels.

Published n 2011, the Guidance is currently being updated. In addition to ongoing systematic reviews of peer-reviewed literature, a collection of models of good practice has been initiated by the two agencies, that should add practice-based evidence derived from interventions implemented in real-life, European settings.

The two EU agencies are inviting applications to report models of good practice targeting PWID population aiming to:

  • improve community-based testing
  • increase linkage to care
  • increase adherence to treatment of infection interventions
  • prevention or reduction of infections through successful health promotion approaches

The infections of interest are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), HIV and tuberculosis (TB).

Should you or your organisation be interested in reporting a model of good practice that fits the scope of this call, please express your interest following this link>>>.

World Hepatitis Day 2020

Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost.

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes places every year on 28 July bringing the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. In 2020 the theme is ‘Find the Missing Millions’. Have a look at the promotional video of the campaign in 2020

WHD is a day for the world’s hepatitis community to unite and make our voices heard. It’s a day to celebrate the progress we have made and to meet the current challenges. It’s also an opportunity for us to increase awareness and encourage a real political change to jointly facilitate prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

WHD is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of the importance of knowing your hepatitis status and to spread the word about treatment.

Whether you have one minute or an hour, there are plenty of ways you can get involved in World Hepatitis Day. Find out how to join following this link>>>.

 

The WHO Regional Office for Europe published Compendium of good practices in the health sector response to viral hepatitis in the WHO European Region. It includes 34 practice examples from 18 Member States in the European Region authored by various actors in the collective response to viral hepatitis, including government and national viral hepatitis programmes, academia and public health institutes/research institutes and NGOs and CSOs. The Compendium is available for free download following this link>>>.

 

To inspire and challenge you with its essential stories, our colleagues from Correlation – Harm Reduction Network collected and published Good Practice Examples of hepatitis C interventions which is the first of its kind with a focus on civil society organisations in Europe.

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>>>

Hep C robust prevalence estimates

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control published their new Toolkit to support the generation of robust estimates of hepatitis C prevalence. This toolkit supports EU Member States in generating robust prevalence estimates for hepatitis C.

The overarching aim of this toolkit is to gain a better understanding of the HCV epidemiology in the EU/EEA.

European surveillance data show on-going transmission of viral hepatitis across the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA). The available notification data however, do not provide a clear epidemiological picture of hepatitis C in Europe. Prevalence data from population surveys are a key source of information to complement the surveillance data for hepatitis C due to the limitations of surveillance for hepatitis: the infection is often asymptomatic and notifications are strongly influenced by local testing practices.

This toolkit offers:

  • An algorithm to assist EU/EEA Member States in their decision-making around selecting the type of HCV prevalence survey that should be undertaken
  • The technical protocol for conducting hepatitis C prevalence surveys in the general population
  • Modelled estimates of the national burden of viral hepatitis C in EU/EEA countries

To read and download the Protocol, follow this link>>>

HepC Conference scholarship available!

The International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) is an international, not-for-profit, member-based organization dedicated to scientific knowledge exchange, education, and advocacy focused on improving health for people who use drugs, including focusing on hepatitis C prevention and care for people who use drugs.

INHSU annual conferences are a unique opportunity to connect with the global community working to improve health outcomes for people who use drugs including the prevention, treatment and care of hepatitis C. Their 9th International Conference on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users will be held 8 – 10 October 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Focused on supporting scientific exchange and knowledge dissemination, the conference provides delegates with access to the latest research and evidence regarding effective treatment and care to improve health outcomes for people who use drugs, with a specific focus on hepatitis C prevention, treatment and care. It provides an opportunity for those working in this area to share their research and professional expertise with leaders working in this field. It profiles cutting edge practice that links people who use drugs to prevention, treatment and care in a range of clinical, custodial and community settings.

This conference also brings together leaders engaged in the global effort to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

Have a look at the conference promotional video

A number of scholarship opportunities are available for the full or partial scholarships for the Conference.

A full scholarship will include: conference registration, return economy class flights and accommodation. A partial scholarship will include conference registration.

To apply you must be currently enrolled in a BSc, PhD or Masters Degree and submit an abstract before the deadline: Sunday 15 March 2019.

For more information and to apply, follow this link>>>

European Hepatitis C Community Summit

The 3rd European Hepatitis C Community Summit was held in Marseille, on 25 and 26 November 2019. The aim of the Summit was to bring together researcher, health and community workers, medical staff and HCV patients and advocates to discuss elimination of the disease and role of harm reduction and community services. The event was organised by Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network, in cooperation with the European Union funded Eurosider project.

The programme contained plenary and parallel sessions and focused on priorities for community involvement and advocacy targets for after the event.

A variety of examples of good practice was presented during parallel sessions on: Models of good practice, HCV in prison, Peer Involvement works – we just need to implement it, Capacity building, Access to services, ODBuster – Digitally Networking the Response to Opioid Overdose Emergencies, HCV prevention for (un) documented migrants and Building Capacity to support People who use drugs. Probably the most interesting one was on HCV in prison.

Several representatives of DPNSEE member organisations participated, including Aksion Plus, Margina, Proi, Prometheus, Juventas, HOPS, Positive Voice, ARAS and Alliance of Non Governmental Organisations for Drugs and Addictions in Slovenia. The DPNSEE Board member Marios Atzemis was member of the planning team of the Summit.

The French Embassy in Belgrade provided support for two representatives from Serbia. One was from the Institute for Public Health while the second was DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević.

At the Summit, a statement about the negative effects of criminalisation on health and well being of people who use drugs entitled The decriminalisation of drug use and ensuring national funding of key services will reduce death, disease and marginalisation of people who use drugs was launched – without any opportunity to discuss it.

Ninth European drugs summer school

The University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) will be joining forces once again next summer to hold the ninth European drugs summer school (EDSS) on ‘Illicit drugs in Europe: demand, supply and public policies’. Registration is now open for the two-week course, which will take place in the Portuguese capital from 29 June to 10 July.

Through a multidisciplinary and interactive approach to the drugs problem, EMCDDA scientific experts, leading academics, guest speakers, policymakers and professionals having participated in previous rounds of the EDSS, will prepare participants to meet the complex policy challenges in this field – both in Europe and beyond. The focus of the 2020 course will be hepatitis C.

Week 1 of the summer school, focusing on the ‘Drugs problem: substance use and problems, substance characteristics, and market’, will feature lectures on: the global burden of drug-related problems; drug markets in Europe; detecting new drugs; and prevention approaches in demand-reduction interventions. This session will also focus on the EMCDDA’s epidemiological indicators and their use in informing drug policy.

Week 2, dedicated to ‘Policymaking for drug-related issues’, will include lectures on: drug policies and new challenges (concepts, issues and analysis); the use of evidence to inform decision making; drug laws; and monitoring supply reduction and drug enforcement activity. It will also include group discussion exercises on how to use the knowledge acquired during the course, to sustain drug-related debates. Finally, students will be guided through an analysis of the link between evidence and decision-making, including examples of implementation.

Study visits to outreach facilities and to one of the Portuguese commissions for dissuasion will be organised over the two weeks. During the course, students will also participate in interactive workshops to discuss their own projects and views. The course will conclude with an open debate with guest speakers.

The target audiences for the EDSS are: university students, researchers, professionals and administrators interested in working on drug issues. The previous rounds of the summer school brought together students from the EU Member States as well as from Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

In 2020, students will again be able to apply for scholarships and ‘early-bird’ reductions are also available.

Information and registration is available following this link>>>

Have a look at the promotional video of the European drugs summer school below

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>>>