Assessment of HIV testing in Europe: from policy to effectiveness
ECDC - European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
There is evidence that many opportunities are missed to diagnose HIV infections in EU countries, particularly in healthcare settings. An estimated 30% of HIV-infected persons in EU countries are unaware of their infection. Late diagnosis implies late initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), limited opportunities for drugs, increased mortality and morbidity rates, as well as an increased risk to transmit the infection.
Promoting greater awareness about HIV among health providers, monitoring HIV testing procedures in key settings, standardising the new diagnosis surveillance, and overcoming barriers to HIV testing and counselling are essential. The development of European guidelines on HIV testing and counselling might be useful in order to improve all aspects of HIV testing and counselling including access, offer, uptake and effectiveness for those segments of the EU population that are vulnerable to HIV and at an increased risk of contracting the disease.
ECDC has commissioned the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICHR) from Ghent University (Belgium) to carry out a study on HIV testing policies, practices and barriers in the EU Member States. The results of this study will serve as reference material for ECDC advice activities, with the aim of improving all aspects of HIV testing and counselling including access, offer, uptake and effectiveness for those segments of the EU population that are vulnerable to HIV and at an increased risk of contracting the disease.