In the context of the Work Package 5 (WP5) of the EU Joint Action on HIV and Co-Infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT), Finland´s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) organized a study visit related to harm reduction surveillance on June 18 and 19, 2018, in Helsinki. Lithuanian professionals from the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS (ULAC) and the Centre for Addictive Disorders (RPLC) participated in this study visit. The objective of the visit was to be acquainted with surveillance of HIV and viral hepatitis in collaboration with low-threshold centres in Finland. Henrikki Brummer-Korvenkontio, an epidemiologist from THL, presented Finland´s drugs surveillance system, which has been considered as one of the best in the European context. Agne Šimkūnaitė from ULAC presented the Lithuanian system and the Spanish epidemiologist Begoña Brime was invited to present the Spanish system. These presentations enriched the discussion on how to improve the Lithuanian system, and how to adapt the Finnish key elements to the Lithuanian reality and needs.
Besides, different low-threshold services and institutions involved in harm reduction service provision in Helsinki were visited: Kurvi Drop In – for people who inject drugs and Symppis - for people with substance abuse and mental problems.
The study visit was very well conducted and the attendees agreed in the relevance of such trainings for the development of harm reduction surveillance in Lithuania.