Reaching and testing those at risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) is still a public health challenge across Europe. Data show that every second person living with HIV in the EU/EEA is diagnosed late in the course of their infection. Similarly, a large proportion of the estimated nine million Europeans living with chronic HBV or HCV are unaware that they are infected. In its recent evidence-based public health guidance on HIV, hepatitis B and C testing, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) advocates for integrated testing for the three viruses given that they have common modes of transmission, significant overlaps in affected population groups and high levels of co-infection.
This year, European Testing Week is focussing on scaling up testing efforts in prison settings where inmates have a higher burden of communicable diseases such as HBV, HCV, HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and tuberculosis (TB). Data show that among people with a positive diagnostic test in prison, sizeable proportions were unaware of their status (53% of those tested positive for HBV, 12% of those with HBC and 3% of those who were HIV positive were unaware of their infection).
Source: ECDC, 24 May 2019