On 5 July, EATG was invited to join POLITICO Live’s podcast taping “Severing the chain: How to end HIV transmission in Europe”. EATG Policy and Programme Manager, Ann Isabelle von Lingen took part in a panel together with MEP Sara Cerdas (S&D, Portugal), member of the ENVI Committee and S&D coordinator of COVI Special Committee and SANT Subcommittee and Maggie De Block, member of the Chamber of Representatives, and former minister of social affairs and health, Belgium. The discussion was moderated by POLITICO’s healthcare reporter Ashleigh Furlong.
Here we are sharing some of our takeaway messages from this discussion:
Remarkable advances in HIV prevention and treatment options are being made. Investment in HIV R&D is needed, but the EU is falling behind in investment in cure and vaccine research. There are promising strategies on how to find them => invest!
Invest in decentralised services and remove punitive and restrictive laws and regulations that hinder people most affected by HIV from accessing prevention, testing, treatment and care otherwise 2030 goals won’t be reached
A combination prevention approach is needed: Innovation in biomedical prevention and treatment are important but let’s not forget other basics e.g.: primary prevention, social-economic determinants, stigma, discrimination and criminalisation, regulatory and financial barriers hinder access to those need it most
Multi-disciplinary approaches, community and peer-based services are effective in reaching people who may not otherwise get the prevention and other support services they needed
Funding should be commensurate to what European countries have committed to and to global health solidarity and security; funding level is not at all at the scale needed to reach the 2030 goals
Health systems are in a fragile state and there are budget restraints: to be sustainable the HIV response requires affordable biomedical prevention medicine and diagnostics tools. This is currently not the case, and it generates inequalities
Enable health and elderly care systems to handle the multiple co-morbidities of people living with HIV and provide for equal treatment in services
HIV-related stigma is present everywhere, it requires sustained education and awareness-raising, including U=U and importantly decriminalising sex work, drug use and HIV, migration
HIV won’t end in 2030 so think about it beyond 2030
We all have a role in political mobilisation for the European elections and to counter-populist arguments. The shift to the extreme right and conservative and discriminatory politics threatens the HIV response and the developing One Health approach
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