Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Luxemburg best on HIV care - Sweden and Italy among the worst

A couple of year back when I still worked for the Health Consumer Powerhouse we were in discussions with the World Bank about doing an HIV Index. I think this is one of the more obvious areas for the HCP to do an index over since it’s an area where so many more factors needs to be taken into account beside the pure clinical ones. It really is an area where you need to take a consumer point of view when measuring.

When I then in Gastein a year ago asked Armin Fidler what happen with the World Bank index he explained that one of the member states had blocked the report since they didn’t like the findings. And that is what happens from time to time when national agencies as well as the international ones like the WHO, the World Bank etc produce material. Its a common missunderstanding that their work is objective. Its not - they work in line with the governmental political agendas. This is one of the reasons why it’s so essential that independent private initiatives like the Health Consumer Powerhouse exist.

If nothing else it’s proven when today they do what they World Bank could not by publish their Euro HIV Index ranking the performance of the European healthcare systems with regards to HIV care.

The number of the people living with HIV increases in every member state of the EU. But I do not think that the way to deal with the increase in risky sexual behaviour is to prosecute for unintentionally and unknowingly transmitting the virus as is the practice in for example Denmark and Germany! A special problem is that harm reduction strategies in prisons often is just talk not being implemented. But maybe even worse is that discrimination of people living with HIV is frequent at work and in schools across Europe!

Luxembourg wins the ranking among European 29 countries with 857 points (out of 1,000), followed by Malta (791) and Switzerland (775). Sweden (24th), Italy (27th) and Greece (28th) should be especially embarrassed about the result! You might discuss the relevance of automatic testing the few TB cases you have in Sweden for HIV but its quite clear that the situation with regards to rights is not good. And looking at the score for Italy one gets the impression that HIV is just not on the healthcare agenda. They end up in the bottom by scoring pretty mediocre all over.

The European HIV Index measures 28 indicators, covering 4 sub-disciplines that are key to HIV: Involvement and rights, Access, Prevention, and Outcomes. Each sub-discipline is weighted for importance in contribution to the overall Index score. The full report, the matrix and press material will be available on the http://www.healthpowerhouse.com/ site.