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Announcing our Mind the Gap: Migrant HIV Summit!

Organised by Africa Advocacy Foundation and its Partenariat Mi-Health VIH, the first annual Mind the Gap: Migrant HIV Summit will take place 2 – 3 November 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.

Mi-Health Europe’s vision is a European region in which all migrants are able to realise a healthy and safe life. We believe that by elevating and resourcing the expertise and experience of frontline advocates, migrants and those with intersectional identities, we can collaborate to achieve innovative, data-driven solutions to migrant health inequalities; share resources, best practice and knowledge across the region; and influence national and regional policy so that it is more responsive to the healthcare needs of migrants living with and at risk for HIV.

Migrants living in the EU/EEA face specific vulnerabilities to HIV and must navigate unique legal, social, cultural, linguistic and economic barriers to access prevention and care services. The rise of anti-migrant movements across the region has also ushered in a new wave of punitive policies, limited support for migrants in vulnerable situations, and xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic and racist vitriol. Furthermore, the fallout from COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine continues to compound these healthcare disparities, systems inadequacies and social and economic inequalities impacting Black and ethnic minorities.

Though limited, the available data illustrates these deprivations.

  • Despite accounting for only 12% of the EU population, migrants represented 44% of new HIV diagnoses in 2019(1)
  • 35% of migrants acquire HIV after arriving in Europe(2)
  • 20 EU/EEA countries report major gaps in HIV prevention services for undocumented migrants(3)

Africa Advocacy Foundation and its Mi-Health Europe programme, representing our partner organisations in 10 high prevalence European countries, are organising the Mind the Gap summit to explore a more comprehensive approach to addressing the health needs of migrants across the EU.

We are inviting a range of stakeholders including partners from our Partenariat Mi-Health VIH, migrant-led organisations, academic researchers, policymakers and commissioners under the theme of “Mind the Gap.” Together, we will address:

  • key challenges and gaps in the HIV cascade of care, including lived experiences from the frontline
  • data and research gaps in HIV, including launching a petition for better data for migrants
  • prevention, testing and treatment guidelines for migrants, including access to innovative biomedical interventions such as PrEP and U=U
  • advocating for a broader approach to inclusion and health equity regardless of ethnicity or origin
  • practical ways of addressing the immediate HIV-related needs of migrants from conflict areas, such as Ukraine and the Sahel region

Structure

  • Day 1 will focus on community stakeholders presenting experiences from the frontline and brainstorming on key messaging and discussion points for Day 2
  • Day 2 will feature a roundtable discussion with policymakers and key institutions on actionable recommendations and steps to influence HIV and healthcare policies and practices with the goal of advancing the migrant health agenda across Europe.

Watch this space for additional information on the summit. For any questions or to get involved, contact Denis Onyango, Programmes Director, at denis@africadvocacy.org.

(1) https://www.aidsmap.com/news/aug-2021/over-third-hiv-cases-among-migrants-europe-were-acquired-after-migration

(2) https://www.aidsmap.com/news/aug-2021/over-third-hiv-cases-among-migrants-europe-were-acquired-after-migration

(3) European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. HIV and migrants. Monitoring implementation of the Dublin Declaration on Partnership to Fight HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia: 2017 progress report Stockholm: ECDC; 2017.

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