HIV prevention and treatment in Southern Europe in the aftermath of bailout programmes

GF Augusto , I Hodges-Mameletzis, Karanikolos, M., Alexandre Vieira Abrantes , MR Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
The global financial crisis impacted public health in Europe, and had a particularly critical detriment to health systems in Southern Europe. We aim to describe HIV response and progress towards the current global HIV targets in specific Southern European countries, which received financial adjustment programmes.
METHODS:
We examined and compared a set of HIV indicators in Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Spain. The indicators included: (i) HIV epidemiology; (ii) adoption of WHO's 'Treat All' recommendation; (iii) progress towards the UNAIDS global targets of 90-90-90; (iv) adoption/implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); and (v) adoption/implementation of WHO's HIV self-testing (HIVST) recommendation.
RESULTS:
HIV incidence varied across countries since 2010, with sustained declines in Portugal and Spain, and marked increases in Greece and Cyprus. By 2016, all four countries have adopted WHO's 'Treat All' recommendation, leading to a marked increase in people receiving ART. Improvements were seen in all 90-90-90 targets, with Portugal achieving those in 2017, but Greece lagging somewhat behind, as of 2016. Portugal and Spain have also started implementing PrEP, and Greece has completed a pilot with no additional access to PrEP for pilot participants and no national programme in place. Cyprus has been the slowest in terms of adopting PrEP and HIVST.
CONCLUSIONS:
Countries need to focus on prioritizing effective and comprehensive prevention measures, including HIVST and PrEP, and scale-up access to quality treatment and care for those diagnosed, in order to accelerate the reduction of new HIVs infections and successfully meet the global targets for HIV treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages6
JournalThe European Journal of Public Health
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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