Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser

October 2018 (Issue 14)

Welcome

Welcome to the October 2018 Sexual Health & HIV Policy EUROBulletin.

Our eFeature in this edition is an interview with Ben Collins. Ben is co-chair of the working group for European Testing Week, which this year takes place from 23-30 November. We spoke to Ben about testing week and how you can get involved.

Since the last edition, organisations around the world have marked World Contraception Day, International Safe Abortion Day, International Day of the Girl and Sexual Health Week, so there have been lots of opportunities for starting conversations, raising awareness and highlighting sexual and reproductive health issues in the media.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) launched a campaign on International Safe Abortion Day which will run for six months, until International Women's Day in March. Called I Decide, it aims to raise awareness of the harms endured by women who are denied safe and legal abortion. This remains a highly political issue, and is the focus of sustained campaigning and advocacy. In this edition, we highlight a new research paper, mapping the backlash against gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in six European member states. On World Contraception Day, the European Parliament hosted the launch of a new advocacy document, Limited Access: Contraception Deficit in Europe, published by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development, which targets policy makers from across Europe.

Other items to look out for in this edition include: a collection of recommendations from the World Health Organization on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues affecting adolescents; and new data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on drug-resistant gonorrhoea.

Not your copy of the bulletin? Click the link below to subscribe. 

> Sign up to receive future issues of the Sexual Health & HIV Policy EUROBulletin

eFeature

Ben Collins is co-chair of the working group for European Testing Week, which this year takes place from 23-30 November.

In this eFeature interview, we spoke to Ben about the week and how you can get involved.

> Ben Collins – eFeature interview

Tell us what you think!

What do you think of the EUROBulletin?

We want to ensure that the Sexual Health & HIV Policy EUROBulletin is relevant, valuable, and easy to use, so we really want to hear your feedback and comments.

Is it relevant to your work? Is there anything we can do to improve it?

Please take a few minutes to tell us what you think by filling in our online survey.

> Visit the online survey

Sexual health rights & advocacy

New advocacy document on contraception access in Europe

On World Contraception Day (26 September), a new advocacy document, Limited Access: Contraception Deficit in Europe, was launched in the European Parliament. Published by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF), it targets policy makers from across Europe, the EU and at national levels. It follows on from the launch of the Contraception Atlas, earlier in the year, which scored European countries on their provision of contraception.

> Find out more

Progress report on child and adolescent health in Europe

A new progress report on child and adolescent health in Europe from the World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted areas where health outcomes are falling short. Issues of concern raised include mental health, obesity and sexual and reproductive health. The report highlights that one in three countries in the region do not offer legal access to contraception for people under 18 without parental consent. WHO has also released a collection of its current recommendations on evidence-based actions to address sexual and reproductive health and rights issues affecting adolescents.

> Read the press release

> Download the full report

> Download the collection of recommendations

Policy development & guidance

Postpartum family planning

On World Contraception Day (26 Sept), the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Reproductive Health and Research and HRP (the Human Reproduction Programme, run by United Nations agencies, WHO and the World Bank) highlighted the importance of provision of postpartum contraceptive methods. Women who have recently given birth are among those with the highest unmet need for contraception.

> Find out more on the WHO website

> View the Postpartum Family Planning Compendium

United Nations agencies pledge to end HIV, TB and viral hepatitis epidemics in Europe

At a high-level meeting on TB, 14 United Nations agencies pledged to bring an end to the HIV, TB and viral hepatitis epidemics in Europe. In a statement, they recognised the complex and systemic nature of the challenges, including inequality, stigma and socioeconomic factors.

> Find out more on the WHO European Region website

> Read the United Nations common position on ending HIV, TB and viral hepatitis through intersectoral collaboration (2018)

Parliament & other European institutions

Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use

At a meeting in September, the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) made recommendations for approval of two treatments for HIV: Delstrigo, which combines doravirine, lamivudine and tenofovir disoproxil; and Pifeltro (doravirine).

> Read the summary of opinion for Delstrigo (PDF)

> Read the summary of opinion for Pifeltro (PDF)

Funding for EPF project 'Parliamentarians Deliver'

The European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) will receive a 3 million euro grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further its work catalysing action in the European Parliament on family planning, reproductive, child and adolescent health and universal health coverage in Europe and Africa.

> Find out more

EU Civil Society Forum calls for more action on HIV, TB and hepatitis

The EU Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis has criticised the publication of a European Commission Staff Working Document. The forum says that by publishing the lowest level policy document, the Commission has signalled that it does not intend to develop further policy for tackling the three diseases in the European region.

> Read the full response from the EU Civil Society Forum

> Read the Staff Working Document

Treatment & service guidelines

New guideline aims to help reduce caesarean section rates

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new recommendations aiming to help reduce unnecessary caesarean sections. Globally, rates of caesarean sections have been increasing and many sections are unnecessary, putting women and their babies at risk. The new guidance contains non-clinical interventions, such as educational interventions.

> Find out more on the WHO website

> Download the guidance

New European HIV treatment reference group

Access to HIV treatment and care in Europe has improved in recent years, but remains low in eastern Europe and central Asia (28% in 2016). The WHO has convened a new European HIV treatment reference group to engage with the issue of scaling up treatment across the region, through capacity building, review of national policies, and guidance for countries to encourage faster uptake of recommendations.

> Find out more on the WHO European Region website

Evidence, data & research

Persistent but stable levels of drug-resistant gonorrhoea reported

A new surveillance report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that drug-resistant gonorrhoea continues to be an issue across Europe. The report finds high levels of azithromycin resistance, which poses a threat to the effectiveness of the current recommended treatment regimen.

> Find out more on the ECDC website

> Download the surveillance report

Hepatitis epidemiology in Europe

A new technical report from ECDC examines the epidemiology of hepatitis B and C in selected population groups, including men who have sex with men and other groups at risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis. The report will contribute to European guidance for hepatitis testing. ECDC has also released an epidemiological update on the recent hepatitis A outbreak among men who have sex with men.

> Download the technical report on hepatitis B and C

> Read the epidemiological report on hepatitis A

Hormonal contraception and migraine

The European Headache Federation (EHF) and the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC) have published a consensus statement on the effect of exogenous oestrogens and progestogens on the course of migraine in women of reproductive age.

> View the statement in The Journal of Headache and Pain (open access)

Reports & resources

Study on backlash against gender equality and women's and girls' rights

The European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has published a new research paper, designed to map the backlash against gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in six member states (Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia).

> Download the paper (PDF)

CoPE fund open for applications

Call for applications for a CoPE (continuous patient education) grant are now open. The deadline for submissions is 1 November. CoPE provides funding to community-based organisations in Europe and Central Asia for the production and translation of patient education materials related to HIV and co-infections.

> Find out more

Buying HIV and STI testing kits online

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is warning people who buy test kits for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV online to make sure that they are purchasing from safe and legitimate sources after seizing almost 10,000 unsafe kits since 2015.

> Find out more

Campaigns & other news

New campaign: I decide what happens to my body

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has launched a new campaign, called I Decide. Over six months, it will raise awareness of the harms endured by women who are denied safe and legal abortion.

> Find out more

European Testing Week

European Testing Week is an initiative that was launched by HIV in Europe in 2013 to increase testing efforts and create awareness of the benefits of early HIV testing. Now in its sixth year, the fourth year hepatitis testing has been included, European Testing Week will take place from 23-30 November 2018.

> Read our eFeature interview about European Testing Week

> Find out more on the European Testing Week website

World AIDS Day theme announced

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December every year. This year will be the 30th World AIDS Day and the international theme has been announced: Know your status.

> Find out more on the UNAIDS website

ESC recent grant winners

The European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC) provides grants for activities and research related to its aims.

> View the recently awarded grants

> Find out more about applying for grants

Country-specific news

Belgium

Parliamentary question on European movements in opposition to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

> Find out more

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina must continue the fight against HIV and TB without Global Fund's aid.

> Find out more

Denmark

Study in Denmark finds people living with HIV underestimate the harm of smoking.

> Read this article in full on aidsmap.com

Germany

Most pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) users in Berlin obtained it from informal channels.

> Read this article in full on aidsmap.com

Greece

The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) calls on Greek authorities to ensure that justice is done for HIV-positive human rights’ defender Zak Kostopoulos, who died following an attack in Athens.

> Find out more

Hungary

The INDIT Foundation, which provides harm reduction services for people who use drugs in Hungary, says training pharmacy staff, governmental and social workers is necessary to improve integrated care.

> Find out more

Malta

HIV treatment in Malta is archaic, activist warns, with outdated drug regimens being prescribed.

> Find out more

Poland

Council of Europe decision calls on Poland to immediately grant women access to legal abortion care and services.

> Find out more

Portugal

Portugal approves sale of test kits for HIV and hepatitis in pharmacies.

> Find out more

Russia

Russian Federation commits to reach 75% antiretroviral therapy coverage in 2019.

> Find out more

Spain

The Spanish Society of Contraception produced a manifesto for World Contraception Day.

> Find out more

United Kingdom

The supply of medications, access to new HIV treatments, and staffing levels at HIV clinics could all be affected if there is a no-deal Brexit.

> Read this article on BuzzFeed