Author: M. G.
The Headquartes of UNAIDS in Geneva hosted a meeting about the increase of HIV prevalence in Europe, especially in the Eastern regions and within key population at higher risk. The participants of the meeting covered a wide range of expertises, from service providers, key population and research organizations to national and international political institutions.
UNAIDS shared two significant quotes taken from the meeting: the first comes from the deputy Executive Director Programme, Luiz Loures: "We need to stand by key populations affected by HIV and defend their rights, whether it is in Athens, Abuja or Stockholm. We cannot leave people behind". True story, a lack of services and incentives, stigma, discrimination, criminalisation of HIV transmission are actual barriers both to research and to protect the key population from the rise of new HIV infections.
The second quote shared by UNAIDS comes from the Head of Online Research and Prevention Udi Davidovich: "The internet and social media revolution is radically transforming the landscape for the HIV response in Europe and beyond". IT plays a big role in everybody's life and it also affects the spreading of epidemic, especially within the key population at high risk of infection. This is not a minor detail but in many European countries it seems this strategic information is not enough taken into account.The internet has outcomes - positive and negative - that must be considered and managed according to a shared goal. The wider access to new technologies in rural areas, small cities and new countries can be associated with the increase of HIV prevalence. In fact men who have sex with men can more easily engage in same sex encounters through dating apps and websites, while sex workers are more and more operating online. Furthermore the internet market for new synthetic injectable drugs is rapidly evolving. However, the most relevant message of the meeting is that a new generation of community mobilisation will revolutionize the way of doing prevention work: information is a form of energy that has an impact on reality through people's behaviour, therefore the response of Europe to HIV can be significantly affected by those using new technologies for spreading education about prevention and safe sex. Like DAA has been doing for over a decade now.