Preventing HIV/AIDS (Council conclusions of 2005)
The HIV/AIDS epidemic and the related underlying phenomena fuelling the spread of the epidemic are common. The Council therefore adopted a series of conclusions encouraging the Member States and the Commission to step up their efforts to tackle the epidemic.
Conclusions of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of 3 June 2005 on combating HIV/AIDS [Not published in the Official Journal].
The HIV/AIDS * epidemic and the related underlying phenomena fuelling the spread of the epidemic continue to be a major threat to public health. AIDS causes human suffering and disability, increases the risk of social exclusion, and has negative implications for national economies.
As well as continuing to strengthen existing methods to prevent the disease, it is still necessary to further develop research, surveillance, and methods for effective intervention.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is fuelled to a great extent by social factors, such as inequality between women and men, poverty and social marginalisation of the most vulnerable populations.
Effective prevention of the epidemic requires increased cooperation between the Commission, Member States, accession, candidate and neighbouring countries, and international organisations such as UNAIDS *, with the participation of people living with HIV/AIDS and the civil society concerned.
European framework for AIDS prevention
The Council's conclusions are based on a series of measures and conferences related directly or indirectly to AIDS prevention, in particular:
- the Council Recommendation of 18 June 2003 on the prevention and reduction of harm associated with drug dependence;
- the declaration adopted following the Conference "Breaking the Barriers - Partnership to fight HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia" (Dublin, 23/24 February 2004), which called for the European Union's capacity to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS to be strengthened;
- the "Vilnius Declaration" adopted following the Ministerial Conference "Europe and HIV/AIDS - New Challenges, New Opportunities" (Vilnius, Lithuania, 17 September 2004), highlighting the need for joint efforts to strengthen comprehensive prevention activities and build effective partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector;
- the Commission working paper of 8 September 2004 "Coordinated and integrated approach to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the European Union and in its neighbourhood";
- the Communication from the Commission, COM(2004) 0726 final, of 26 October 2004 on a coherent European policy framework for external action to confront HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Action at national level
In light of the above, the Council encourages Member States to adopt measures to:
- implement the Dublin Declaration and the Vilnius Declaration;
- implement national multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS coordination structures, strategies and financing plans;
- raise public awareness of prevention of HIV infection and provide better information on sexual and reproductive health *;
- take further action to promote safer and more responsible sexual behaviour and practices, including condom use, and scale up access for injecting drug users to prevention, drug dependence treatment and harm reduction services;
- counsel and support people with the virus, their families and their friends, and maintain a respectful, non-discriminatory and accepting societal atmosphere and behaviour towards people with HIV/AIDS;
- develop a sustainable, affordable, and accessible health care system as a basis for prevention, treatment, and care activities, and ensure that all those in need have access to affordable anti-retroviral * treatment;
- improve cooperation between clinical trials in the continuing search for HIV-vaccines and microbicides;
- continue to work closely together with the European Commission and other relevant international organisations and agencies when planning and agreeing specific bilateral actions in the context of neighbourhood and development policy.
Action at Commission level
The Council calls upon the Commission to:
- support Member States in their efforts to implement the Dublin and Vilnius Declarations;
- contribute to efforts to improve general knowledge and to raise public awareness of prevention of HIV infection;
- contribute to activities intended to establish a respectful, non-discriminatory and accepting societal atmosphere and behaviour towards people with HIV/AIDS;
- facilitate the use of existing EC financing instruments for the implementation of comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategies within the Member States and in neighbouring countries;
- promote investment in the appropriate research and development of effective behavioural and risk-reducing as well as prophylactic measures and cure;
- encourage the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to further reinforce and coordinate activities on the surveillance of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS;
- facilitate collaboration between the Member States, accession, candidate and neighbouring countries and relevant international organisations in order to promote the exchange of good practices and joint projects;
- promote dialogue and cooperation with countries at regional and global levels, as well as with international organisations such as UNAIDS.
Key terms used in the act
Further information available on the European Commission's Public Health website.