The European Men’s Health Forum is to examine the quality of life of people living with HIV in Europe. The European community-based study will examine the complex inter-related nature of the issues that affect the quality of life of both men and women living with HIV and AIDS.
The United Nations AIDS programme calculates that in Western Europe, 580,000 people are now living with HIV compared to 540,000 in 2001 but the enlargement of the EU has also enlarged the union's HIV community. According to the UN, Eastern Europe and Central Asia continue to have expanding epidemics, fuelled by injecting drug use. Young people are particularly affected - more than 80% of new cases in these areas are under the age of 30. The worst affected countries among the new EU members are Estonia and Latvia.
The true number of people living with HIV in Europe will certainly be higher than official figures. A new British report suggests that one in 10 homosexual men who visit popular gay venues in London are infected with HIV, and a third of them don't realise it.
The Forum believes that personal experiences will provide the key to understanding the impact of HIV treatment on everyday life and will help assess quality of life expectations for the future.
Speaking on on the eve of the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, the Forum’s director Erick Savoye said. ‘This is an exciting project for us as it will provide an update on the valuable knowledge acquired from previous HIV-related quality of life projects. Administered separately from any clinical trial, it is unique in focussing on the influencing factors such as treatment, day-to-day life, employment and access to health services that make up a patient’s total experience of the disease.’
People living with HIV and AIDS in Europe are asked to fill in either online or by post a comprehensive but easy-to-complete questionnaire which has been designed in collaboration with European experts in the field. The answers will help to determine the impact of changes in treatment over time and assist in understanding the expectations of the HIV and AIDS community for the future. The study is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and falls under the umbrella of the pharmaceutical company’s One Vision European Photographic Competition, designed to reduce HIV-related stigma in Europe.
The European HIV-related Quality of Life Survey is now available in 5 languages: Deutsch, English, Español, Français, Italiano.