World AIDS Day 2017 - Message from the President

 

1 December 2017

 

On this day we, the members of EACS, should celebrate the great achievements in the treatment, management and prevention of HIV. We have come a long way from the era of HIV -related mortality and morbidity. Now HIV is a long term chronic illness controlled on ART with a normal life expectancy. Hepatitis C is now curable with the new DDAs and ART is available in less toxic and more simplified regimens. Indeed, more recently, there is the promise of long-acting drug formulations which will offer HIV + persons better adherence profiles and greater convenience. 

 

Prevention of HIV with PEP, PrEP and treatment as prevention has also been demonstrated in studies, many of which have been published this year. The goals of achieving 90/90/90 in 2020 is progressing well in many countries. So you might think our work is done!

 

Unfortunately, there remains a huge burden of undiagnosed disease. Testing strategies need to be up-scaled to cover a wider population to better identify the hidden epidemic, particularly in marginalised groups. Innovation is key to identifying new testing opportunities in health care settings and also in the community. Furthermore, access to treatment in parts of Eastern Europe is suboptimal and often limited. Stigma remains an overwhelming impediment to successful engagement with both patients and health care providers. PrEP availability is limited by financial constraints despite good cost effectiveness analysis. Hopefully, the impending widespread availability of generics will significantly benefit this situation. 

 

So, on this day, we should reflect not only on a job well done but on the new challenges which face us in Europe. We have a responsibility to advocate, educate and empower all our colleagues to deliver optimum care to all our HIV patients.  We should also remind ourselves of our EACS mission to promote excellence in standards of care, research and education in HIV infection and related co-infections, and to actively engage in the formulation of public health policy, with the aim of reducing HIV disease burden across Europe.

Join us in these endeavours, become active members of our society, stand up and be counted!

 

Prof. Fiona Mulcahy

EACS President