21 February 2022 (Lisbon): The informal working group on HIV at the European Parliament, led by UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases and IAS – the International AIDS Society – was officially launched today.
Members of the European Parliament met to agree on how to incentivize and increase investment in pandemic preparedness, as well as research and development for HIV prevention. It also discussed how to tackle stigma and discrimination towards people living with and affected by HIV.
“We must ensure that everyone living with HIV have a healthy and long life and to make sure that we fight stigma and discrimination.”, Sara Cerdas, MEP from Portugal said.
Moderated by Sharon Lewin, IAS President-Elect, the event welcomed a distinguished panel of speakers, including Hendrik Streeck, Director of the Institute of Virology and Institute for HIV Research at the University of Bonn, Anna Zakowicz, Deputy Director of AHF Europe, Matthew Kavanagh, Deputy Director of UNAIDS, and Luís Mendão, President of the Treatment Activists Group.
The speakers shed light on the state of the HIV epidemic in Europe within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They covered some of the main priorities of the group, including pandemic preparedness, investment in HIV prevention, and stigma and discrimination.
“It is my pleasure to launch the first cross-party working group on HIV in the European Parliament. Together with UNITE, it is our hope that this informed coalition will strengthen European leadership in the HIV response.” Sharon Lewin, IAS President-Elect said.
The overall discussion aimed at presenting the scope, mission and objectives of the informal working group on HIV, that already includes 9 MEPs from Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, and Spain. This included the development of a set of recommendations to share with European Union institutions and the organization of capacity-building sessions and multilateral gatherings to provide parliamentarians with tools to address the group’s advocacy priorities. UNITE and the IAS expect that the group will advance HIV policies at the European level.