The OptTEST by HiE project (Optimising testing and linkage to care for HIV across Europe) is a three year project co-funded by the EU Commission under the Second Health Programme 2013 call for proposals. The project officially started on 1st July 2014 and aims to help reduce the number of undiagnosed people with HIV infection in the European region and to promote timely treatment and care. The project will provide 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.
A brief power point presentation of OptTEST and the main results from year 1 & 2 is 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 will not just be able to highlight regional differences, but will also extrapolate the outcomes, tools and methods developed to other countries within each region by adapting these to the appropriate geographical context.
The project builds 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 is organized in 7 work packages: 3 horizontal work packages that ensure overall project coordination, dissemination of results and internal and external evaluation of activities; and 4 core work packages that address 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 collaborate with clinics, hospitals and civil society organizations across EU (see map). In addition, external funding has enabled the inclusion of the non-EU countries Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine in a shell-project running in tandem with OptTEST.