WHO/Europe hosts joint workshop to estimate HIV incidence in countries of western and central Europe and North America

In order to help countries of western and central Europe and North America plan to end HIV by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, WHO/Europe joined forces with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to organize a workshop on reviewing HIV estimates.

The group of 21 participants from 16 countries met on 4–6 April 2017 in UN City, Copenhagen, Denmark, to produce national estimates of HIV incidence, people living with HIV, AIDS-related deaths and other important HIV-related indicators through 2016.

The workshop provided an opportunity to apply 2 recently developed HIV modelling tools, and to revise and improve previous national estimates. Immediate output from the tools can be used to inform progress towards the ambitious 90–90–90 global targets (90% of people living with HIV know their status; 90% of people living with diagnosed HIV infection receive treatment; and 90% of people on treatment achieve viral suppression) as well as the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration target of a 75% reduction in new infections by 2020.

The developers of the UNAIDS Case Surveillance and Vital Registration (CSAVR) and ECDC HIV modelling tools were present during the workshop to offer participants guidance on the creation of country-specific models.

The CSAVR tool was rolled out in 2015 as part of the UNAIDS-supported Spectrum modelling software. It allows countries with robust HIV case surveillance and/or vital registration systems to use the data to derive national estimates. This is preferable to relying on repeated sentinel surveillance conducted among key populations, which is often unavailable in this group of countries. The tool was piloted jointly by 5 European Union/European Economic Area countries in February 2016. Based on its initial success, the ECDC further collaborated with UNAIDS in late-2016 to better integrate inputs and outputs from both tools.

The ECDC HIV tool was released in 2015. It can be applied to derive estimates of the total number of people living with HIV, the annual number of new infections, the average time between HIV infection and diagnosis, and the proportion of people living with HIV who are undiagnosed nationally and among key population groups.

Although many participants were new to both modelling tools, after working enthusiastically during the 3-day workshop all left with draft estimates in hand. These estimates will be validated with national stakeholders and subsequently submitted to the organizers to meet international reporting requirements by mid-May 2017.