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What will it take to end the HIV epidemic in Europe? – POLICY

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries are making progress towards meeting the 95-95-95 targets, but progress is uneven.1 Greater efforts are needed to improve prevention, testing and treatment services to ensure that these goals are universally achieved and that no one is left behind.

The 2024 European elections will mark the start of the Commission’s last full term before 2030, providing the final opportunity to deliver on the commitment to end HIV/AIDS under the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ). Today we are speaking with stakeholders from government, civil society and industry to discuss the status and ongoing cross-sector advocacy needed to ensure the elimination targets become a reality.


Cyrus Engerer

Member of the European Parliament

Bertrand Audoin

Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and FTCI Europe at IAPAC

Jean Bernard Simeon

Senior Vice President and Head of Europe, ViiV Healthcare

What is the state of the European Union on HIV/AIDS and why should we talk about it now?

Deputy engineer:

HIV has been a priority on Europe’s health policy agenda for years, in line with the EU’s commitment to achieving the SDGs by 2030. The Dublin Declaration2 , adopted in 2004, was the first regional commitment to “end the AIDS epidemic.” Subsequently, two successive action plans were implemented to combat HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighboring countries, supported by continued funding from the EU4Health program for community-based HIV testing projects. Although progress has been made, achieving the 2030 goals still requires much work.

HIV diagnoses have increased in Europe in recent years,3 reflecting a broader trend of increasing sexually transmitted infections (STIs)4 in the general population. Additionally, the burden of HIV and other infectious diseases, including viral hepatitis and tuberculosis, is compounded. HIV remains an urgent problem and the next EU mandate must recognize the urgency of tackling this epidemic.

As elections approach, we will soon have a Parliament full of new civil servants tasked with developing the policies and funding that can end the HIV epidemic. It is therefore essential to listen to all stakeholders involved to ensure this vital conversation takes place before it is too late.

What should the new EU mandate focus on?

Bertrand Audoin, IAPAC:

Europe needs a plan and dedicated funding to implement it. If we then begin to look at the gaps that need to be filled, there will be work to be done on several fronts.

We need to encourage testing – especially opportunistic testing – early diagnosis and integrated programs for HIV, TB, STIs and hepatitis. Innovative methods such as social media-based testing and self-testing should be explored to encourage testing and remove stigma barriers.

We need to encourage testing – especially opportunistic testing – early diagnosis and integrated programs for HIV, TB, STIs and hepatitis.

It is crucial to strengthen primary prevention strategies, including improving access to condoms, PrEP and PEP in combination prevention programs, with a focus on key populations most at risk of HIV infection, including sex workers, migrants and prisoners.

On treatment, the new EU mandate should focus on investing in long-term, holistic, person-centered approaches that improve the management of HIV, co-infections and comorbidities, thereby improving quality of life linked to the health of HIV-positive people.

Jean Bernard Siméon, ViiV Healthcare:

Addressing the unmet needs of marginalized groups, including intersecting forms of stigma, self-stigma and discrimination, is crucial to ending the epidemic. We must continue to invest in innovative testing, prevention and treatment options to improve the quality of life of people affected by or living with HIV.

We must continue to invest in innovative testing, prevention and treatment options to improve the quality of life of people affected by or living with HIV.

We must recognize the added value of new products and formulations that can overcome stigma barriers – including self-stigma due to discreet methods – and improve adherence and retention in care. The wider the range of choices available, the greater the chances of reaching those most in need and ensuring health equity across Europe.

What is the general consensus on the next steps to get us to the 2030 goals and beyond?

Deputy engineer:

This was the subject of a roundtable I organized in Parliament earlier this year. More than 30 stakeholders representing international organizations, national governments, civil society and industry discussed priority actions to ensure that Europe remains on track to end HIV/AIDS as a threat to public health by 2030.

Bertrand and Jean Bernard have already listed many of these actions, which are compiled in an upcoming multi-stakeholder consensus statement open for approval. At the political level, it is crucial to increase the EU’s commitment and leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS by providing guidance to member countries and supporting UNAIDS, the Global Fund and the Regional Office for WHO for Europe on a global scale.

At the political level, it is crucial to increase the EU’s commitment and leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS by providing guidance to member countries and supporting UNAIDS, the Global Fund and the Regional Office for WHO for Europe on a global scale.

In addition to national efforts, EU institutions can play a unique role in implementing an overarching framework capable of guiding regional action towards achieving the 2030 goals.

Bertrand Audoin, IAPAC:

Another point of consensus emphasizes strengthening community leadership by ensuring the active participation of civil society in policy formulation and decision-making. The EU should play a more active role in ensuring consistent implementation of GIPA5 and MIPA6 principles.

This does not mean that we do not already have a leadership role. The roundtable mentioned by MEP Engerer followed a letter sent by IAPAC and other civil society organizations to Commissioner Kyriakides advocating for a new European HIV action plan. We tend to demand more, but to be effective we need a permanent and meaningful seat at the table, which the next EU mandate should guarantee.

We tend to demand more, but to be effective we need a permanent and meaningful seat at the table, which the next EU mandate should guarantee.

Jean Bernard Siméon, ViiV Healthcare:

We are at a critical juncture in the journey to end the HIV epidemic in Europe, and it is very encouraging to see the political momentum on HIV in recent months — including during the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council — and the upcoming multi-stakeholder consensus statement, which calls for strategic thinking and collective action to address gaps in the EU’s response to HIV.

This includes current and future gaps, ensuring that long after the epidemic ends, people living with HIV have broad access to innovative and effective tools that reduce disparities, improve health outcomes and ensure quality of life of people living with HIV. At ViiV Healthcare, we will continue to urge European institutions to put in place systems that can harness the value of innovation and encourage research and development that provides additional clinical and social benefits beyond the viral suppression.

The EU’s new mandate must reaffirm its commitment to fighting to end new HIV infections and ensure that Europe meets the UN’s global HIV targets by 2030. We need a plan that integrates and funds strategies for a future where the burden of HIV/AIDS ceases to exist for everyone. .


(1) The 95-95-95 targets are: 95 percent of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 95 percent of people living with HIV know their status and are on treatment; 95 percent of people living with HIV are on treatment with a suppressed viral load. According to the latest ECDC data, European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) countries have 91 percent of people living with HIV knowing their status, 93 percent of those on treatment and 92 percent hundred of those under treatment. being virally deleted.

(2) Dublin Declaration on Partnership to Combat HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia – https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/b/a/29873.pdf

(3) According to the WHO and EDCD Europe HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 2023 (2022 data), in 2022 an increase in HIV diagnoses occurred across the entire European region , and in particular in 26 countries in the EU/EEA region.(2), largely due to the increasing movement of population from Eastern to Western Europe. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/hivaids-surveillance-europe-2023-2022-data

(4) Sexually transmitted infectious

(5) MIPA – Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV. For some, MIPA – meaningful engagement of people living with HIV – is a preferred term over GIPA because it means that people living with HIV are active and equal agents of change, not passive recipients of services.

(6) GIPA – Increased participation of people living with HIV. The GIPA principle is a principle that aims to realize the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV, including their right to self-determination and participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives. It was formalized at the Paris AIDS Summit in 1994 and approved by 189 United Nations countries in 2001. Source: https://data.unaids.org/pub/briefingnote/2007/jc1299_policy_brief_gipa.pdf

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