Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries (2009-2013)

Each year, more than 50,000 new cases of HIV are diagnosed in the EU and neighbouring countries. There is currently no cure for HIV, thus making it necessary to take preventive action. This Communication presents the European Commission’s action plan to combat and improve the prevention of HIV/AIDS.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 October 2009 - Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries, 2009-2013 [COM(2009) 569 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication presents the European Commission’s action plan to combat HIV/AIDS for the period 2009-2013. It is a complementary measure to the European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis through External Action (2007-2011).

Current situation of HIV in Europe

The prevalence rate of HIV infection is estimated at between 0.1 % and 1.2 % in Europe, depending on the State. This Communication notes an alarming rise in the spread of the virus, mainly in the east of the continent. Furthermore, it notes differences between the means of contamination:

Vulnerable groups (who are most likely at risk of infection) are mainly:

Between 30 % and 50 % of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the EU, and up to 70 % in European neighbouring countries, are unaware of their HIV status. Moreover, access to care and prevention measures is still limited and varies according to the country.

Objectives of the EU 2009-2013 Action Plan

The EU action plan on combating HIV/AIDS aims at:

In order to meet these objectives, the European Commission proposes to act in the following areas:

Priority areas and groups at risk

The Communication defines the most affected regions as a priority, particularly the area including Eastern European countries that are the subject of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Although the virus tends now to be transmitted more and more by heterosexual means, the most affected groups are still:

The Commission considers that it is crucial to improve prevention among these groups and in these areas, as well as the treatment of co-infections such as tuberculosis or hepatitis.

Surveillance and research

HIV/AIDS surveillance for Europe is carried out by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in cooperation with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and by UNAIDS. The Commission invites the Member States to apply the Decision introducing a network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases in order to collect more robust and comprehensive data.

The Commission intends to encourage HIV research through the framework programme for research and the programme in the field of health. It also plans to support investments towards the development and implementation of innovative preventive and therapeutic interventions.

Key terms of the Act

See also

Last updated: 01.03.2011