This year, European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week will take place from 20-27 November. HIV in Europe is asking for communities to unite to increase awareness of the benefits of HIV and viral hepatitis testing and campaign for access to treatment in order to prevent further transmissions throughout Europe – which is why the theme for 2015 is TEST. TREAT. PREVENT.
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rockstroh, Co-Chair of the HIV in Europe initiative, said: ‘HIV and viral hepatitis co-infection is a huge problem across Europe, we have expanded the scope of testing week to include viral hepatitis following requests from community organisations. These viruses are transmitted in similar ways and affect similar groups of people so it makes clinical sense to get tested for both HIV and hepatitis at the same time. We hope that the community makes the 2015 testing week as successful as previous years.’
30-50% of the 2.2 million people living with HIV in Europe are unaware that they are HIV positive; and 50% of those who are positive are diagnosed late, delaying access to treatment. It is estimated that around 13.3 million people are living with hepatitis B in Europe and approximately 15-40% of infected patients will develop cirrhosis, liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma. Around 15 million people are living with hepatitis C in Europe, yet only 3.5% receive treatment on average.
Brian West, Co-Chair of the HIV in Europe initiative and steering committee member of AIDS Action Europe said: ‘With the support of participating organisations, European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week aims to communicate the benefits of testing, because today people living with HIV can live into their older-years with early treatment; and those with hepatitis C can be cured. Early treatment also helps to prevent further transmissions to others.
We hope that testing week proves to be even more successful this year and today we are calling for more organisations to sign up via the European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week website to help even more people find out if they are HIV and/or viral hepatitis positive or negative.’
European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week will take place during the last week of November, 20-27 November 2015, and will be the third European testing week
In 2013, 456 organisations from 47 of 53 countries in the WHO European Region participated
In 2014, 709 organisations from 49 of 53 countries in the WHO European Region participated
In 2014, HIV testing activities were carried out by 79% of participants and
awareness raising activities by 77% of participants
Nearly one fifth of the participants carrying out HIV testing activities reported a 200% increase or more in testing rates
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