Communicable diseases

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

The availability of data on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the EU varies widely from country to country. Surveillance systems differ in terms of coverage, comprehensiveness and representativeness. It can, therefore, be misleading to compare numbers and reported rates between countries. Addressing this knowledge gap is key to tailoring an effective policy response.

Policy at EU level

The European Commission's policy aims to:

  • Enhance the comparability of data through improved notification
  • Raise awareness for the risks of STIs
  • Support the prevention of STIs
  • Give guidance on the control of STIs, with a special focus on Chlamydia

Sexual health forum

In this context, meetings between the European Commission, representatives of EU countries, youth representatives and researchers take place in the sexual health forum.

Stakeholders are invited to participate in the ongoing debate on improving data collection on sexual transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HPV, Syphilis and exchanging best practices on surveillance, monitoring and prevention of STIs.

HIV/AIDS policy

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remains a major public health concern in EU/EEA countries, with 30,000 to 33,000 new infections reported each year. Effective treatment of HIV infections exists but there is still no cure, or preventive vaccine.

EU policy focuses on prevention, and support for people living with HIV/AIDS by strengthening cooperation between national authorities, civil society and interest groups across Europe. The Commission communication on combating HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries identifies policies to help reduce the number of new infections and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.

The European Commission will produce a Staff Working Document in the first semester of 2018 on combatting HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmittable diseases and tuberculosis in the European Union and neighbouring countries.

HIV projects

HIV/AIDS related projects are funded through the EU health programme. The Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency (Chafea) provides a comprehensive list of HIV/AIDS projects funded since 2003.

Surveillance

The 2017 HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe report is the result of monitoring by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO Europe. The ECDC and Commission also cooperate on specific monitoring projects, e.g. on implementation of the Dublin declaration on fighting HIV/AIDS in the EU and Central Asia. The report shows that 51% of reported HIV diagnoses (63% of people aged 50 and older) were made at a late stage.

Cooperation

The Commission has set up two bodies that meet twice a year to help with policy implementation and strengthen cooperation between countries, civil society and international organisations.

The HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Think Tank (TT) is a forum of representatives of EU and EEA countries to exchange information and to strengthen cooperation. Relevant international and regional organisations and pan-European NGOs are invited to participate. The Think Tank has played an important role in defining priorities for HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis policy.

The HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum (CSF) is an informal advisory body established in 2017 by the European Commission to facilitate the participation of NGOs and networks in European policy development and implementation..

The CSF provides advice to the Think Tank. Meetings are co-organised by the Commission and the CSF Coordination Team representing the civil society. Members are selected on the basis of a call for expression of interest.

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