Sexually transmitted diseases

HIV/AIDS Think Tank

Report from the 8th meeting of the HIV/AIDS Think Tank
25th – 26th of April 2007

Present: Representatives of 20 EU Member States, 1 Candidate country, 4 Neighbouring countries, 6 International and Regional Organisations, 1 EU Agency, 2 Civil Society Networks, and number of Commission Services.

1. Opening and report from HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum

Commission services opened the meeting and the chair informed that ECDC will unfortunately not be attending this meeting.

The co-chairs of CSF reported from the meeting on 23rd and 24th of April. Main general points were 1) renewal of CSF, 2) suggestion for a joint CSF and TT meeting, 3) testing guidelines – importance of guidelines prepared by WHO-EURO and ECDC should have same main message, and 4) suggestion to have presentations from EU presidencies on their program in each TT meeting.

2. Bremen The German Presidency presented the main outcomes of the Bremen Conference. In the discussion the group thanked the Presidency for a well organised Conference with good outcomes. The political importance of the Conference in particularly important and provides support for future activities. The Presidency is leading work on Health Council Conclusion based on the Bremen Declaration, and the aim is to have also part of the European Council Conclusions on HIV/AIDS. There was particular focus in the discussion about the ARV part of the Declaration and how it would be implemented. The meeting was informed that there are ongoing activities to address the issue in co-operation between the Commission, the Presidency and the Industry.

3. Implementation

The review of the implementation of the Communication on combating HIV/AIDS within the European Union and in the neighbouring countries 2006-2009 is ongoing. The Commission presented the status of the implementation according to first results of the Commission review. Excel table will be sent out to the group for contribution and comments. It is aimed at having a good overview in early summer. The discussion started with reactions from Estonia, Netherlands, and CSF. In the discussion some issues came up frequently including 1) financing of the action plan, 2) need for more communication with other sectors on European and national level, 3) importance that all partners need to do their part – the Commission, governments, international organisations, civil society and other partners, 4) importance of linking work on EU level to work on national level, 5) surveillance – need to ensure non-interrupted continuation of ongoing data collection, and 6) link specific actions with specific commitment in Declarations. In the discussion the issue of over reporting was raised and that maybe there was too much emphasis on collecting data and not enough on how to use the data.

Romania gave a presentation on the status in Romania.

4. WHO – Dublin report

WHO-EURO gave a presentation on the process of preparing the report on review of the Dublin commitments. In the discussion the group asked to be able to comment/review the draft report when it is available and involvement in development of indicators. WHO welcomed these requests as they are in line with their planning.

5. Youth – HIV prevention

The Commission gave a presentation on the youth program and how it can link with HIV related activities. In the discussion it was pointed out that it is important to not just look at HIV but perhaps more the risk taking behaviour of young people. The importance at looking at different settings such as youth and employment was raised and that interventions should be evidence based.

6. Migrants

The upcoming Portuguese Presidency gave a presentation on the situation in Europe and the program of the Presidency, but the main theme is migration. One of the events is a technical meeting of HIV/AIDS co-ordinators from WHO-EURO region. In the discussion there was a suggestion to have these types of meetings under each presidency and as such could provide added value. However it raised the question how it could complement the work of the Think Tank.

The CSF gave a presentation representing the view of the Forum about migration and importance of have human rights approach to migration issues. It was highlighted in the discussion that migration is a very complex issue and it takes many different forms, from very positive over to very negative. The issue of return travel as a frequent route of transmission was also highlighted.

7. Prisons and HIV Prevention

The Commission gave a presentation on the upcoming proposal for Council Recommendation on Prisons and drugs which is in the early stages of drafting, as well as data on the overall situation in Europe. In the discussion there was a support for the proposal and number of issues which needs to be in place for effective approach was raised. It was also highlighted the need for close cooperation between justice and health sectors on all levels. The general view of TT was that to have health services in prisons under the health authorities had proved more effective and better for all involved. It was agreed that the Commission would send out request to the Think Tank to request input by mid-summer.

Bulgaria gave a presentation on their experience. Their experience is generally positive even though number of problems. The services have been build up with support of the Global Fund.

The CSF gave a presentation on their view of both the situation and what needs to be done.

8. AOB and conclusions

ILO introduced their work on HIV/AIDS in terms of workplace issues and upcoming work on recommendation on HIV/AIDS. Further information and request for information has been sent by e-mail to the Think Tank.

Sweden informed the group about upcoming ASEM (the Asia-Europe Meeting) Workshop on HIV/AIDS. The Workshop will take place in Stockholm, Sweden on 4-5 June. Information regarding the Workshop has been sent by e-mail to the Think Tank.

IOM introduced their work on health and in particular on HIV/AIDS.

UNAIDS informed the group about organisational skill based training/information sessions in Brussels.

Next meeting is set for October/November 2007.