The 2nd Partnership Forum for the Joint Action HA-REACT was held on 2-3 November 2016 in Riga, Latvia. 52 associated and collaborating partners attended from over 17 countries for two and a  half days of presentations. The coordinating team opened the meeting Wednesday morning with an overview of the project status and the reporting situation. Subsequently, steering committee members presented to the participants on everything from financial and business items to progress and plans of each individual work package.

Comprehensive background and updates on relevant policy, funding, epidemiologic surveillance, and risk assessment of HIV, viral hepatitis, and tuberculosis in Europe were provided by collaborators from the European Union’s Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA)and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and updates on harm reduction and organizational activities from the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN).

All work packages: dissemination (WP2), the evaluation report (WP3), testing and linkage-to-care (WP4), scaling up of harm reduction (WP5), harm reduction and continuity of care in prisons (WP6), integrated care (WP7), and sustainability and long-term funding (WP8) had the opportunity to present their plans and progress in plenary and receive feedback and advice from all partners on important issues relevant to their work. It was additionally important to see areas for potential collaboration or overlap. WP2, for example, is in the process of scaling  up and plans to collaborate further with other WPs to provide key information to the project and to key influencers in the wider European infectious disease community. This includes two blog and interview series’ hosted on the BioMed Central “On Health” blog.

The partnership forum closed in the late afternoon Thursday, 4 Nov. The following day steering committee members and advisory board members met for their respective meetings on administration of the Joint Action.

The objectives of the HA-REACT Joint Action (2015-2018) can be found at “About HA-REACT” and are as follows:

  • To significantly contribute to the elimination of HIV and to reductions in cases of TB and viral hepatitis among PWID in the European Union by 2020. This objective is aligned with strategic action plans issued by the European Union, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
  • To focus particularly on Member States where there are obvious gaps in effective and evidence-informed interventions, or where such interventions are not being implemented at a sufficient level.
  • To encourage the implementation of comprehensive harm reduction programmes at sufficient scale in all EU Member States as an essential strategy for improving the prevention and treatment of HIV, TB and viral hepatitis.