HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C: EP proposals for tackling communicable diseases

MEPs urged the Commission on Wednesday to address the increase in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis cases in the EU and to develop long-term programmes.

A harmonised infection surveillance programme is needed to immediately detect outbreaks of these contagious diseases, assess trends in prevalence, provide disease burden estimates and effectively track in real time how diagnosis, treatment and care are managed.  As HIV remains the communicable disease bearing the greatest social stigma, Commission and Member States should facilitate access to innovative treatments, also for the most vulnerable groups, and combat social stigma.

They encourage Member States to make HIV tests available free of charge, to ensure early detection.

Tuberculosis (TB), which is the biggest killer of people living with HIV, has become a serious cross-border threat in a globalised world in which population mobility is increasing, MEPs stress. The number of people affected by TB in the world rose in 2014 for the third year in a row.

MEPs emphasise the importance of tackling growing anti-microbial resistance and call on EU leaders to establish cross-border prevention measures and initiate joint action.

Against Hepatitis C, where 90% of patients show no symptoms of contracting the disease, there is no standard protocol for screening in the Member States. The number of people affected might be underestimated, say MEPs.. The Commission should launch a plan to standardise screening, testing and treatment protocols to eradicate hepatitis C in the EU by 2030.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, almost 30 000 new HIV infections were reported by the 31 EU/EEA countries.
  • An estimated 120 000 people in Europe developed Multi-Drug Resistant TB.
  • Viral hepatitis (HCV) is considered one of the most serious public health threats globally.
  • According to the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), one out of seven people living with HIV are not aware that they are HIV positive.
  • The estimated average time between HIV infection and diagnosis is four years
  • By 2050, out of an estimated 10 million annual deaths in the EU due to drug resistance , one quarter will be caused by drug resistant strains of TB

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