High-level conference | Building political momentum: Towards Ending HIV in Europe
12 December 2023

High-level conference | Building political momentum: Towards Ending HIV in Europe

The HIV Outcomes initiative collaborated with MEP Frédérique Ries (Renew Europe Vice-President, Belgium), MEP Sara Cerdas (S&D, Portugal) and MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) to organise a high-level, in-person conference on 29 November commemorating World AIDS Day 2023, in the European Parliament. The event focused on driving meaningful political change and strengthening HIV policies in the context of the upcoming 2024 elections in the European Parliament and the new European Commission configuration. It particularly reflected on policy actions that can help advancing towards the shared goal of ending HIV in Europe, while emphasising the importance of sustained action and addressing the evolving needs of people living with HIV.

While substantial progress has been made in the fight against HIV, Europe’s commitment to end HIV requires renewed political action and attention. As people living with HIV are living longer and healthier lives, the current landscape requires a more integrated, person-centred approach to address their complex needs. Acknowledging and addressing these multi-faceted challenges is crucial to upholding Europe’s commitment and delivering comprehensive care for people living with HIV.The upcoming 2024 European elections present an opportunity to generate political momentum and reaffirm Europe’s commitment to end HIV. By prioritising the fight against HIV, we can collectively work to meet the UN SGD target of eliminating the AIDS pandemic and ensure the long-term care and the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of people living with HIV in Europe.The event focused on driving meaningful political change and strengthening HIV policies in the context of the upcoming 2024 elections in the European Parliament and the new European Commission configuration. It particularly reflected on policy actions that can help advancing towards the shared goal of ending HIV in Europe, while emphasising the importance of sustained action and addressing the evolving needs of people living with HIV.

Participants included:

  • Stella Kyriakides, EU Health Commissioner
  • Helena Dalli, EU Equality Commissioner (pre-recorded message)
  • Christine Stegling, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Policy, Advocacy and Knowledge Branch (pre-recorded message)
  • Magdalena Bartnik, European AIDS Treatment Group member, and Executive Director of the Prekursor Foundation for Social Policy, Poland
  • Prof Oana Sandulescu, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Bals”, Bucharest, Romania
  • Mario Cascio, Chair Quality of Life Programme at European AIDS Treatment Group, HIV Outcomes Steering Group member
  • Prof Jeffrey Lazarus, HIV Outcomes Co-Chair, Head of Health Systems Research Group ISGlobal at Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Prof Nicoletta Policek, UK CAB Chairperson
  • MEP Sara Cerdas, S&D, Portugal
  • MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, EPP, Finland (pre-recorded message)

The event was moderated by Jacki Davis.

Key takeaways

  • EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides welcomed the work of HIV Outcomestowards making this event possible and reminded that, thanks to great medical progress, HIV is now seen as a chronic condition. However, progress remains to be done and HIV remains a global public health challenge – at both EU and global levels – and that further considerable investments are needed to address stigma and improve equity and long-term care as part of a stronger Health Union, notably for populations most at risk. Commissioner Kyriakides also emphasised the importance of HIV remaining a priority in 2024, despite the elections of the European Parliament and the nomination of the new European Commission, towards achieving UNAIDS targets to end the HIV pandemic in 2030.
  • EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli stressed the importance to fight stigma, notably in healthcare settings, further alienating vulnerable populations who need HIV care, and the need to improve education and awareness in that regard.
  • UNAIDS Executive Director for Policy, Advocacy and the Knowledge Branch Christine Stegling, highlighted the role of communities to reach the 2030 targets and applauded those 3 countries already achieved them, with 16 others close to this objective. She reminded the multisectorality of addressing HIV globally and called for comprehensive approaches to ensure no one is left behind in prevention strategies (e.g., adolescent girls, young women).
  • EATG’s Magdalena Bartnik focused on the crucial role communities, governments and other institutions should have, supporting non-judgmental efforts to develop and implement drug prevention policies for all populations, while reminding the need for governments’ accountability in that regard. Professor Oana Sandulescu stressed the importance of using Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) in healthcare settings and the need to streamline their measurement and assessment at European level. Dr Nicoletta Policek reflected on people with HIV living longer and longer, but simultaneously suffering more from comorbidities. Addressing this notably requires strongly integrated care adapted to national / regional systems, initiatives against stigma and communities’ involvement focusing also on social root issues.

 

RE-WATCH THE EVENT HERE

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This initiative is enabled by sponsorship provided by Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare.