ECDC Guidance recommends concerted efforts to expand integrated testing strategies or programs for hepatitis B (hepatitis B), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV in order to reduce the number of those who are currently infected but not diagnosed. Such integrated strategies or test programs must implement the six basic testing principles and respect the individual needs of the tested:
- Testing must be accessible, voluntary, confidential and conditional upon informed consent.
- Before and after testing, appropriate information should be available.
- Care relationship is a critical part of an effective testing program.
- Normalize HBV, HCV and HIV tests in all healthcare settings; and
- Those who carry out tests for HIV, HBV and / or HCV should receive appropriate training and education.
- An effective national testing strategy, including a monitoring and assessment framework, is crucial to responding to HBV, HCV and HIV infection.
Success in increasing testing use should make a significant contribution to the eradication of HIV and the fight against viral hepatitis as a threat to public health by 2030, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Objectives.
The ECDC Manual describes who, where, how, and when to test for viral hepatitis and HIV and offers options for testing strategies applicable to all health centers and beyond (eg self-examination and self-inquiry). Because of the higher risk of infection, groups of people eligible for targeted tests for HBV, HCV and / or HIV include, inter alia, men who have sex with men, homeless, sexual workers, people who inject drugs, pregnant women or patients on hemodialysis. Examples of Best Practices in the Guide provide approaches for primary care centers, hospitals, STI clinics, pharmacies, prisons, and public attitudes, including drug reduction and harm reduction services.
Integrated testing: health benefits and "synergies at times of resource constraints"
"If we want to maximize the benefits of HIV treatment or viral hepatitis, it is important to test and diagnose people as soon as possible in the course of the infection, as all three infections are usually asymptomatic for years. , it currently takes an average of three years from the time of HIV infection to diagnosis, which is too long, "he notes. ECDC Director Andrea Amon, "Our new test guide provides a set of evidence-based design options for national or local test intervals for different situations and risk groups." One of the key elements is the diversification and integration of testing services as this allows synergies at times of resource constraints. "
Early diagnosis and relationship with care brings strong benefits to individual health and public health: Effective treatment of HIV or viral hepatitis eliminates or suppresses viruses significantly, which in turn means that those who are treated disrupt existing transmission circuits, preventing further infections.
However, too many people living with HIV or chronic hepatitis B or C in the EU / EEA are unaware of their infection and therefore do not receive treatment.
Vittenis Andriucacies, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: "Progress in antiretroviral therapy has changed the nature of the HIV epidemic in Europe – HIV is no longer a fatal illness, for people who have been diagnosed early and have been effectively treated, HIV has become a chronic condition, progress in intensive care tested in the last decade, estimates show that one out of every seven people living with HIV in the EU / EEA has not yet been diagnosed. We must focus our efforts on reaching these individuals, and in particular the most vulnerable society First also increase our efforts in testing for hepatitis B and C. It is assumed that you have to deal with these three diseases together to achieve our goal of sustainable development. European Commission are strong supporters of the European week of tests. "
The European Week of Tests begins today with more than 700 organizations in Europe and Central Asia that promote dialogue between those who could benefit from testing and those who offer testing – because early diagnosis of HIV and viral hepatitis is beneficial to all.