The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has a strong mandate with respect to surveillance of communicable disease in the European Union but a less strong mandate regarding prevention and control as this remains the responsibility of individual Member States. However, ECDC has produced several guidance documents and user-friendly toolkits to support public health decision makers and experts in the Member States to strengthen available prevention and control activities.
In the light of (1) increasing trends of STI and the continuous rise in the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections among MSM and (2) the evidence for increased high-risk sexual behaviour and the widespread sexual mixing among MSM in Western Europe, ECDC has assessed effectiveness of behavioural and psychosocial HIV/STI prevention interventions for MSM in Europe and concluded that there is an overall deficit in outcome evaluations of interventions aimed at reducing HIV/STI risk behaviour among MSM in Europe.
Following this background, ECDC has launched an additional project to include a review and assessment of the following: interventions aiming at knowledge, attitudes and beliefs and influencing psychological and social risk correlates (eg, media campaigns, interpersonal education programmes, sexual health education, safer sex promotion, detached education, outreach work, prevention counselling, peer education, community level interventions). Interventions aiming at lowering the risk of behaviour (eg, condom distribution, provision of paraphernalia for safer sex) The final report contains a compilation and summary of publications regarding outbreaks and increasing trends of HIV and STI, an update of different prevention interventions targeted at MSM as well of interventions planned and carried out within the framework of programmatic responses to the HIV epidemic as well as interventions following outbreaks or other events, a review of evaluation of different interventions and synthesis the evidence base for preventive interventions, and a synopsis of identified knowledge gaps.
Based on the review and the assessment, a platform for multidisciplinary expert consultation will be organised in August 2011 (including epidemiologists, prevention experts, social behaviour scientists, representatives of civil society, Member States, NGOs, and other key stakeholders) to discuss the needs and challenges for coordination at EU level.
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