The establishment of AIDS Action Europe in March 2004 follows a long history of European collaboration among NGOs active in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
This year, we celebrate AIDS Action Europe’s 9th anniversary. The partnership grew to a network with currently more than 400 member organisations in 46 countries of our region.
The joint action promotes effectiveness by increasing the use of structured quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) activities in HIV prevention in Europe. It actively involves HIV prevention implementers – in government and civil society – in the design, implementation and evaluation of its tools and criteria. The initiative is a tripartite partnership of BZgA, WHO Europe and AIDS Action Europe. AIDS Action Europe is mainly involved in communication and policy development.
AIDS Action Europe has set up a European HIV Legal Forum aiming to bring together legal expertise and function as a task force for policy development on legal issues concerning health access of HIV-positive migrants in an irregular situation. The Forum has started with a pilot phase in 2012 in which 5 member organisations have provided input through a questionnaire.
In 2011 we defined our cross-media communications strategy, in which social media will play a more and more important role in reaching our strategic objectives. We have launched our own Facebook page and a twitter account.
After extensive brainstorms and discussions with the steering committee, AIDS Action Europe developed its strategic framework for the period 2011-2015.
Although some work was already done in relation to the IQhiv project, in 2010 AIDS Action Europe became the 3rd official partner in this initiative next to WHO Europe and BZgA. The initiative also received funding in 2010 from the German Federal Ministry of Health, allowing more work to be carried out in the framework of improving quality in HIV Prevention in Europe. AIDS Action Europe plays an active role in ensuring that civil society is involved and took on the task to develop a website for this initiative.
As a clear result of the start of the ROST project, our network grew faster than ever in 2010. The number of members of AIDS Action Europe grew from 257 in 2009 to 427 in 2010. The majority of the new member organisations came from Eastern Europe and Central Asia and register because they wanted to participate in the first training of the ROST project on policy and advocacy. It confirms the need in the region for capacity building events such as these.
This 2-year project is implemented by the Moscow Office of AIDS Action Europe’s partner organisation AIDS Foundation East-West. The goal of the project is to strengthen advocacy, resource mobilisation and networking initiatives carried out by AIDS-related non-governmental and community-based organizations at the national and regional level by supporting capacity development in these areas. At the same time this project will increase AIDS Action Europe activities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and will be a start for more active advocacy in and for this region.
The Civil Society Forum has played a much bigger role in the development of the new EU Strategy in comparison with the development of the previous EU Strategy. We are of the opinion that our advocacy has been influential in assuring that the human rights and universal access frameworks were incorporated as core elements of the Communication, as well as specific attention to most at risk populations and harm reduction.
AIDS Action Europe is co-chair of the HIV in Europe initiative, which is a pan-European initiative initiated in Brussels in 2007. The initiative provides a European platform for exchange and activities to improve early diagnosis and earlier care of HIV across Europe. The initiative is directed by an independent group of experts with representation from civil society, policy makers, health professionals and European public health institutions.
The overall objective of HIV in Europe is to ensure that HIV positive patients enter care earlier in the course of their infection than is currently the case, as well as to study the decrease in the proportion of HIV positive persons presenting late for care.
In March 2007 AIDS Action Europe launched this tool to facilitate the exchange of good practices and key documents on HIV and AIDS across Europe and Central Asia. The online database www.hivaidsclearinghouse.eu has now become one of the most well-known tools for NGOs, policy makers, European networks and projects and other stakeholders to collaborate and share their information.
At the International AIDS Conferece in Toronto AIDS Action Europe organised a members meeting where a Memorandum of Understanding with WHO Europe was signed.
Early 2006 the AIDS Action Europe website was launched in both Russian and English.
The EPAA project, funded by the European Commission and other sources, aimed to strengthen knowledge, capacity, discussion and exchange among AIDS related non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community based organisations (CBOs) in Western and Eastern Europe. Among its main achievements were the development and maintenance of www.aidsactioneurope.org and the clearinghouse information database www.hivaidsclearinghouse.eu as well as the organisation of 7 European good practice seminars:
• Working with the media (Sensoa, Antwerp, 2006)
• Monitoring & evaluation (SANL, Amsterdam, 2006)
• Legislative & judicial systems (NAT, London, 2007)
• Gay men’s health (AIDES, Paris, 2007)
• Voluntary counselling & testing (ARAS, Bucharest, 2008)
• Resource mobilisation (SANL, Leusden, 2008)
• Public policy dialogue (SANL, Leusden, 2008)
This project, coordinated by ICASO, involved 10 countries across five different continents. In Europe, the two participating countries were Russia and Ukraine. The regional coordination was done by AIDS Action Europe’s office in Vilnius. The national partners have built capacity and strong partnerships and coalitions of civil society organizations for advocacy around aligning and expanding prevention and treatment programs and services. The ending of PTAP end 2009 also meant the closure of the AIDS Action Europe office in Vilnius.
In 2004, AIDS Action Europe was invited by the European Commission to co-chair, together with the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) the CSF. After 2 meetings in 2004, the CSF was formally established in 2005. The CSF is an advisory body to the Commission to facilitate the participation of non-governmental organizations, including those representing people living with HIV/AIDS, in policy development and implementation and in information exchange activities. The Forum includes about 40 organizations from all over Europe. It acts as an informal advisory body to the European Think Tank on HIV/AIDS. Since 2004, AIDS Action Europe has co-chaired two meeting yearly. The CSF has been pro-actively involved in several Commission policies on HIV/AIDS.
In order to work more successfully towards our second line of action ("supporting an effective response to HIV and AIDS in Central and Eastern Europe"), the AIDS Action Europe secretariat in Amsterdam merged in 2005 with the ICASO Eastern European Partnership office in Vilnius. End 2009 the Lithuanian office was closed.
The Open Forum on AIDS Action in Europe in March 2004 was a first public event to launch AIDS Action Europe. Three priority lines of action for AIDS Action Europe were defined:
In reality AIDS Action Europe has focused in its further actions mostly on the first two lines of action and has supported other actors in the field, when necessary, on action line number three.
In November 2003 AIDS Action Europe was assigned as the host for the European representation of International Council of AIDS Service Organizations - ICASO.
In 2003, an inventory was held among NGOs and key players in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention and control in Europe. Needs, opportunities and support for a new European partnership were assessed. The inventory showed clearly that there was an urgent need for a new Pan-European Partnership on HIV/AIDS. More information can be found in the documents Final Report and the Key Findings of this inventory.
Some of the organisations present in Barcelona gathered in December 2002 in London and discussed ways to take the work forward. At that meeting the organisations agreed to join forces, forming an interim Steering Committee to take on the responsibility for establishing a new European NGO partnership.
At the International AIDS Conference 2002 in Barcelona a couple of European NGOs met to discuss the need for a new European NGO initiative. It was agreed that an extension of the existing networks was needed. There was a need to move beyond networking towards a European NGO partnership with a strong focus on policy, advocacy and practical support.
Download AIDS Action Europe's track record in achievements in pdf.