EATG is 30: HIV at the intersection of current and future challenges for our communities

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EATG celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022. With a long history of advocating for the rights of people affected by and living with HIV, EATG remains one of the few pan-European community-led organisations, protecting rights and addressing inequalities to maximise access to treatment, prevention and quality of life and care.

On this World AIDS Day, drawing from our work and UNAIDS call to equalize, we take stock of standing issues and future challenges for our communities. We also take the opportunity to reflect on our history and how it resonates with today’s challenges, in a publication documenting the experiences of EATG members and partners over the past three decades.

 

 

The HIV epidemic remains a critical issue, year after year, in Europe and globally. Much more so for populations facing discrimination, stigma, criminalisation, as well as inadequate access to person-centred health services and social protection mechanisms. Gay, bi and other men who have sex with men, transgender and non-binary people, racialised groups, people who use drugs, migrants and other people on the move, sex workers and people in detention are disproportionally affected. New HIV cases are mostly found in these communities, accounting for 70% of new HIV infections globally. In addition, people living and ageing with HIV are experiencing a higher proportion of comorbidities than the general population along with stigma and discrimination. Current models of care are inadequate in addressing the emerging clinical and social needs of this increasingly older population.

 

While treatments are effective in suppressing the virus, they do not yet cure HIV. There are enormous inequalities in the quality of care for people living with HIV depending on where they are. Equality and access to prevention and care are basic rights. Targeted prevention is cheaper than life-long treatment and is supported by scientific evidence. However, some governments maintain outdated strategies. Prevention policies and effective community-led programmes remain underfunded. Moreover, clinical trials for non-HIV related diseases continue to exclude people living with HIV. Inclusion of women, transgender and gender-diverse people, and those who use drugs, in clinical and implementation research remains limited.

 

Drawing from its work in 2022, EATG calls for:

  1. Ensuring that health and social services at the local, national and international level are guided by human rights and are accessible to all
  2. Monitoring and acting on HIV-related stigma and discrimination in society, in health care settings and our communities
  3. Integrating comprehensive geriatric screening, care and support services for the elderly and older people living with HIV into the HIV clinic infrastructure
  4. Integrating screening and care for multi-morbidities, including mental health status
  5. Developing and implementing inclusive clinical research guidelines for non-HIV clinical trials to improve health outcomes of people living with HIV
  6. Involving community in the design and implementation of agreed upon Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in HIV clinical research
  7. Ensuring easy access to combination interventions, including testing, free PrEP and related services for all those who would benefit from it
  8. Including PrEP in national guidelines, health programmes and making it available via decentralised and community-led/based centres
  9. Making traditional and community-led/based health services more inclusive for those not yet accessing the prevention interventions they would benefit from
  10. Ensuring access to HIV services for both prevention and care regardless of residency or insurance status

 

#EATG30

#ReflectRecoverRegroup

#WAD2022

#WorldAIDSDay2022

#Equalize

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