European HIV testing week – a campaign to increase the number of people aware of their HIV status
Summary of work
One in three of the 2.3 million people living with HIV in Europe are unaware of their status. The benefits of early HIV diagnosis have been well-documented, yet as many as 50% are diagnosed late.
The European HIV testing week was launched on 22-29 November 2013 with a view to being an annual date that aims to increase the proportion of people who are aware of their HIV status and reduce late diagnosis across Europe. The platform was created to tackle the three main barriers to HIV testing: individuals not taking tests; healthcare professionals not offering tests; and national guidelines not being in place that support free, voluntary and confidential HIV tests. In 2014, 709 organisations from 56 countries participated – a phenomenal increase from 477 in 2013 – and 22 international organisations pledged endorsement, including UNAIDS. A wide range of activities took place, from GP training on offering HIV tests to African immigrants in Belgium, to celebrity TV and radio endorsement in Greece.
Testing week is now a fixed date in the HIV calendar and thousands more people are now aware of their HIV status, with some participating organisations seeing more than a 200% increase in people being tested.
European HIV testing week was very simple and clear in both its aim and strategy to drive HIV testing and this is exactly what it achieved with highly impressive results and each and every one of its SMART objectives met. Excellent work.