SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

ECDC issues report on sexual transmission of HIV within migrant groups

The European Centre for Disease Control reported on Monday that HIV surveillance data must be improved to prevent ongoing post-migration HIV acquisition within groups migrating to the European Union/European Economic Area.

The ECDC conducted a systematic review of existing literature on sexual transmission of HIV among populations from countries with generalized HIV epidemics in the EU/EEA. Figures for HIV infections acquired post-migration ranged from as low as two percent among sub-Saharan Africans in Switzerland to as high as 62 percent among black Caribbean men who have sex with men in the U.K.

The ECDC summarized the implications of the evidence in the report and provided recommendations for Member States wishing to improve their HIV surveillance systems. The report recommended that policymakers and program implementers be aware that transmission among migrants may be taking place in their countries and consider which surveillance variables to collect and analyze to better understand and monitor the degree to which sexual transmission of HIV occurs among migrant groups.

The report also suggested the countries identifying migrants as important to their HIV epidemic consider the development of an evidence-based, long-term strategic policy to reduce the transmission and acquisition of HIV post-migration, direct added resources to improve primary prevention programs targeting migrant needs and involve the affected migrant communities in the development and delivery of HIV prevention services for migrants.

The ECDC's report noted that migrant men who have sex with men are particularly at risk of HIV acquisition and transmission after migrating to the EU/EEA and that policies should be considered to specifically target the transmission of HIV within the demographic.