Keeping PrEP in Europe high on the agenda
On February 9-10, 2018, the first high-level meeting on PrEP in Europe took place in Amsterdam. The summit aimed to understand what barriers remain to implementing PrEP in Europe, to discuss how key stakeholders – healthcare professionals, healthcare providers, and community advocates – can collaborate in speeding up implementation of PrEP in Europe and to share good examples of how countries in Europe have moved toward PrEP implementation.
“Amazing event where much common ground was identified by the grass roots activists and participants from over 30 countries. For me, two points were particularly interesting. Firstly, underlining (again) a basic principle of health promotion, that to get better uptake of PrEP in non-white, MSM communities we need to have members from these communities in our teams, running our teams - these populations are not 'hard' to reach. The other point was the call for more advocacy work at international levels (EU, WHO, UN, Global Fund etc.) to include explicitly PrEP in recommendations, guidelines and policy - a definite role for AAE here!” – Richard Stranz, AAE's Steering Committee Member, AIDES, France
The first results of the FLASH! PrEP in Europe online survey were presented and the results of 15.880 survey participants showed that the interest in PrEP is high with and that the respondents’ profiles varied a lot. It has outlined that most of the participants felt that PrEP should be delivered in the framework of a comprehensive prevention package and should either be free or at least covered in part by a health insurance.
The summit also looked at those populations who could benefit from the use of PrEP but its uptake so far has been limited. Women, transgender people, migrant gay men and other MSM face several barriers, including stigma and discrimination when it comes to accessing HIV-services, including PrEP.
“The Summit was a great opportunity to get more information and to learn from activists, researchers, health care providers and other participants, who work on the ground, coming from different regions and countries. I got a feeling that with PrEP a new more optimistic history of HIV prevention begins to be written. As an HIV activist I also got a task to take actions to put PrEP in my country's National Agenda. The Summit has further motivated me to dedicate my best efforts in achieving access to PrEP in my country.” – Tanja Dimetrijevic, AAE’s Steering Committee Member, USOP, the Union of organisations of people living with HIV and AIDS of Serbia
The PrEP in Europe Initiative is steered by a partnership of six European HIV prevention and policy organisations, who are AIDES, AIDS Action Europe, AVAC, the European AIDS Treatment Group, National AIDS Map (NAM) and the National AIDS Trust (NAT).