The Policy Working Group
Improving HIV/AIDS Policy at European and International level
EATG’s policy activities focus on treatment advocacy and in particular on equal access to early diagnosis, adequate treatment for HIV and co-infection. In doing so, it addresses barriers to early diagnosis, treatment and care, such as lack of free tests, of needed medicines and diagnostics; medicines prices; stigma and discriminatory legislation, policies and practices. EATG policy work also seeks to promote the involvement of people living with HIV and population at risk of infection in clinical developments, as well as in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies, laws and programmes that affect them.
EATG’s policy work is led by a Policy Working Group (PWG), which brings together members engaged in advocacy at national and/or international level to ensure universal access to anti-retroviral drugs in Europe and Central Asia.
The work PWG is organised in three strands:
- Availability and Affordability of HIV services: testing, treatment and diagnostics for HIV and co-infections
- Equal Access to HIV services for all
- Tracking and responding to HIV treatment relevant policy, guidelines and legislative developments
The three strands seek to address the underlying issue of stigma and discrimination of persons living with HIV and discriminated or criminalised groups at higher risk of HIV infection. PWG promotes its policy agenda through interactions with European public health policy actors, including European Commission, European Parliament and Council, WHO Europe, UNAIDS, UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights, EU Civil Society Forums on HIV and on Drugs, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Dublin Declaration Advisory Groups, WHO Europe Health in Prison Project Network, the European Public Health Alliance, European Clinical AIDS Society, International AIDS Society and other non-governmental organisations.
PWG works closely with the research and science branch of EATG – the European Community Advisory Board (ECAB), to raise specific issues with Pharmaceutical companies. EATG’s policy work seeks to:
- track, contribute to and influence European policy and legislative developments that impact on the goals of the EATG and report to the EATGand its Board of Directors;
- Support advocay efforts of members at local level as relevant. Proving input into relevant consultations on policy and legislative development;
- Promote EATG and community participation in discussion of European and multilateral institutions;
- Develop EATG position papers on public health and HIV-related issues.
The Policy Working Group is chaired by two memebers elected by the group. The co-chairs are Shona Schoninh and Peter Wiessner. The group is coordinated and advised by a Policy Officer, Ann Isabelle von Lingen. EATG is regularly consulted by:
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
- Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (GFTAM)
- European Commission DG’s
Since 2005, the EATG has been granted by the United Nations its special consultative status within the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
In 2006, EATG became the first HIV/AIDS NGO to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
The Policy Working Group chair is Bryan Teixeira.
Ann Isabelle von Lingen, Policy Officer, is coordinating the PWG.