Joint press release issued by:
Logo: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Federal Ministry of Health

Cabinet adopts strategy for combating HIV, hepatitis B and C and other sexually transmitted infections

Press release of 06.04.2016 |

Today, the German Cabinet adopted a draft strategy for combating HIV, hepatitis B and C and other sexually transmitted infections ("BIS 2030 – needs-based, integrated, cross-sectoral"). The strategy, which was presented jointly by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, will now be submitted to the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.

Hermann Gröhe, German Minister of Health: "Our successful prevention activities and high-quality treatment make Germany one of the countries with the lowest rates of new HIV infections in Europe. But recent figures also show that we must not relent in our efforts. It is important to place our focus on all sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases. This will enable us to build on joint efforts in the fields of prevention, testing and diagnostics and to improve patient care overall. Working with the federal states, associations and self-help organisations will put us in a position to combat HIV, hepatitis B and C and other sexually transmitted diseases even more effectively."

Dr. Gerd Müller, German Development Minister: "In the fight against HIV and AIDS, remarkable successes have been achieved benefiting millions of people around the world. Nevertheless, we must keep up our efforts, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa." The minister emphasised that, although the number of new infections among children has gone down by more than half, from 520,000 in 2000 to 220,000 in 2013, "it must be our goal to drastically reduce the number of new HIV infections. That is why prevention and improved medical care are key priorities for us."

In its 2005 strategy for combating HIV/AIDS, the German government identified fields of action for fighting HIV and AIDS at national and international level for the first time. Although important successes have been achieved through efforts to contain the epidemic, these efforts must now be continued. Since transmission modes and risks are similar for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other sexually transmitted infections, the different pathogens will be the focus of a common, integrated strategy in the future. In this way, it will be possible to benefit even more from common activities in prevention, diagnostics and disease testing and in patient care.

The areas of early diagnosis and prevention will be strengthened further by the new strategy. When infections are detected at an early stage, recovery is faster, future medical issues can be avoided and the transmission of diseases can be prevented.

The estimated number of new HIV infections has been stable since 2006. In 2014, 3,200 new cases were reported. At the end of 2014, some 84,000 people with HIV were living in Germany. The situation is different for syphilis, however, which has seen a sharp increase in cases since 2010. In 2014, 5,722 cases were reported, a 14 per cent increase compared to the previous year. However, only men are affected by this increase. Absolute figures for women are at a much lower level and were on the decline in 2014.

All prevention and treatment offers are tailored to different age groups and areas of life. The focus is on sharing knowledge about the diseases, modes of transmission and protective measures. All measures are planned and implemented using current data that are collected for that purpose.

Forging networks between government institutions, the health sector, private institutions, self-help organisations and other stakeholders will help to ensure that the people affected can be reached better and resources are pooled.

Through its development policy, Germany will keep up its efforts at the international level to give all those affected access to treatment and social protection. To that end, concrete measures to fight HIV will be dovetailed with sustainable measures to strengthen health systems and women's rights over the long term.

The strategy also takes into account the particularly difficult situation of displaced persons, for instance by integrating prevention and protective measures into local HIV programmes in countries of destination and transit.

The German government will also continue to provide support at international level to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in addition to its bilateral development cooperation programmes in this field.

The overriding objective is and remains to achieve the target laid down in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, namely to end the epidemic of AIDS by 2030 and to combat hepatitis and other communicable diseases.

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