AIDS Action Europe launched its report and advocacy tool “CBVCT Services - Current obstacles and opportunities”. AAE would like thank to LILA Milano, and especially Lella Cosmaro, for combining and writing this tool. The report can be downloaded here.

This report represents a contribution to AIDS Action Europe’s (AAE) advocacy work aimed at the sustainability of Community Based Voluntary Counselling and Testing (CBVCT) services, precious low threshold contexts within community based settings that have proven to be one of the best ways to reach key affected groups and test them for HIV, hepatitis and/or STIs.

This study assembles the opinions and ideas of different stakeholders who provided very diverse points of view on the subject as they play different roles at the national and European levels and come from different countries. Their opinions and ideas, together with some extracts of the many documents produced on the subject of CBVCT services, were used as the basis to develop recommendations which serve as an advocacy tool for improving the actual situation both at the national and European level.

NGOs, CBOs and other community organizations and networks have developed great competence and expertise in the offer of CBVCT services and in some cases have achieved amazing results in terms of number of clients tested, number of reactive tests, number of acute infections detected, percentage of new HIV cases on the total number of cases in their countries, support in linking clients to care. They have welcomed people at risk who had never been tested before as they were not allowed to access the regular healthcare system. Such positive achievements came along not only thanks to the brightness, capacity and smart work of CBVCT management and staff, but also, in a few cases, thanks to the support and recognition granted by institutional stakeholders and other relevant actors.

After more than ten years of pilot programs and demonstration projects, the opening of checkpoints and steady services, the expansion of these activities and the positive results, we still need to look into the obstacles and opportunities in the collaboration of partners in the field of CBVCT services at national and European level from different perspectives…  Why?  Because many barriers still must be removed to expand and improve community services, and a lot still needs to be done to improve and increase collaboration between stakeholders, in order to reach key affected populations and to benefit from more accurate monitoring at Public Health level.