EU launches HIV action plan

22 January 2016
European Union Flags

A three-year project to address the gaps in the prevention of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and viral hepatitis has been launched in Europe this month (14 January 2016).

The European Union's Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) will initially focus on Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary, with the aim of preparing guidelines and toolkits for the rest of the EU.

Mika Salminen, HA-REACT coordinator and director of the department for infectious disease at Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare, said: “There is a real opportunity to eliminate debilitating infections among vulnerable people in Europe within a decade.

"By working together the HA-REACT partners and the EU Commission will support the focus countries to achieve this goal."

The initiative, which will focus on treatment for people who inject drugs (PWID), will be implemented across 18 EU member states, working with partners including the European Centre for Disease Protection and Control (ECDC).

Luis Mendão, co-chair of the EU Civil Society Forum for HIV/AIDS added:  “We now have most of the knowledge and tools to end HIV, AIDS and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in Europe. However, political will and cost remain as top priorities.”

According to The World Health Organization, the number of new HIV cases in Europe hit its highest ever level in 2014, with 142,000 people diagnosed in that year.

Photo credit:
Stuart Chalmers/ CC BY-NC