The Informal Working Group on HIV at the European Parliament, launched by UNITE and IAS (the International AIDS Society), hosted a roundtable discussion on developing a roadmap to more effective HIV policies in Europe. The event aimed to identify key issues related to an effective response to the HIV epidemic that should be addressed at the European level.
Despite significant progress made in developing effective treatment and prevention options since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, HIV acquisition rates remain stagnant, and vulnerable groups continue to be disproportionally affected. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted access to services, including for HIV and AIDS, as many health systems were unprepared. As a result, vulnerable groups were marginalized even further.
In November 2020, the European Commission put forward a new set of proposals to build a “European Health Union”, aimed at better protecting the health of its citizens, equipping the EU and member states to better address future pandemics, and improving the resilience of Europe’s health systems. However, HIV policies are not specifically included in this set of new measures.
For that reason, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have a critical opportunity to ensure that the HIV epidemic – which is far from over – receives due attention in global health policies at the EU level. The aim of last week’s event was to identify concrete actions towards this end, and was attended by participants from 8 different countries, having 8 MEPs represented, as well as civil society organizations who contributed to the discussion. The session was moderated by Birgit Poniatowski, IAS Executive Director, and featured several speakers, such as MEP Sara Cerdas, Lisa Goerlitz from Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW), and Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, from IAS.