The OptTEST by HiE project (Optimising testing and linkage to care for HIV across Europe) was a three year project co-funded by the EU Commission under the Second Health Programme. The project ran from 1 July 2014 to 30 September 2017 and aimed to help reduce the number of undiagnosed people with HIV infection in the European region and to promote timely treatment and care. The project has produced tools and assessment methods to analyse and effectively respond to late presentation for HIV care and treatment, with a particular emphasis on priority regions and groups throughout Europe.
Main results and outcomes were presented at the Final Conference 19 September in Brussels. Meting report and presentations are available here.
East, West and Southern EU regions represented in the project reflect different HIV epidemics, healthcare structures, HIV testing policies and HIV related stigmatisation and criminalisation. The project has been able to highlight regional differences and to extrapolate the outcomes, tools and methods developed to other countries within each region by adapting these to the appropriate geographical context.
The project was built on the multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder platform of HIV in Europe, which has been recognised as an important initiative by the relevant EU Commission, the EU Think Tank on HIV/AIDS, the EU Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS, WHO Europe, ECDC and EMCDDA.
The project was organized in 7 work packages: 3 horizontal work packages that ensured overall project coordination, dissemination of results and internal and external evaluation of activities; and 4 core work packages that addressed linkage to care, Indicator Condition (IC) guided HIV testing, cost-effectiveness of testing strategies and barriers to early uptake of testing and treatment.
To collect data, develop new tools and disseminate results OptTEST partners collaborated with clinics, hospitals and civil society organizations across EU (see map). In addition, external funding enabled the inclusion of the non-EU countries Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine in a shell-project running in tandem with OptTEST.