The first in-person COBATEST annual meeting after COVID-19 took place on November 15th and 16th, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. This meeting was COBATEST’s biggest gathering, where 70 members of the network attended. Besides launching of 2021 COBATEST report, the members discussed migration, community based services, and the role of COBATEST Network in assisting CBVCTs. You can view the minutes of the meeting here. Presentations of the meeting are uploaded here.

COBATEST meeting presentations:

The first face-to-face meeting of the first elected Steering Committee of the COBATEST Network was held on November 14th and 15th, 2022 in Badalona, Spain, on the campus of CEEISCAT. Great and productive discussions took place while getting ready for the COBATEST members annual meeting on November 15th and 16th in Barcelona, Spain.

The EUSTI Georgia conference took place 29 September to 1st of  October 2022 in an hybrid format. Dr.Megi Gogishvili presented an abstract based on the descriptive data collected by COBATEST network in 2019 and 2020.

A presentation was conducted on Comparison of HIV testing performed pre and during COVID-19 at Community-Based Testing Centers in Europe based on data collected by COBATEST Network during 2019 and 2020. From 2019 to 2020, forty centers from 15 European countries reported data on HIV testing in both years using the COBATEST standardized data reporting tools. In total 111,117 persons were tested for HIV by forty centers in 2019, and in 2020 the same 40 centers reported 70084 (36.9% less) persons tested. Most of the centers demonstrated substantial decrease in persons tested ranging from 30% to 60% compared to 2019. Three centers had reported more than 60% decrease in HIV testing in 2020 compared to 2019. Minor increase was found in 4 centers and one center reported substantial increase. Overall, drastic change in proportion of persons tested for HIV in 2019 compared to 2020 has been found. The difference could be attributed to availability of these services during lockdowns and also to restrictions imposed by governments on free movement across the cities/towns/countries due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, this data should be interpreted cautiously as no specific data has been collected on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in these 40 centers. Please find full presentation online.

The COBATEST members annual meeting took place December 15th 2021, where the 2020 Report was launched. The meeting took place online due to the pandemic and 38 members attended it. The members discussed the role of mental health in CBVCT services, and ChemSex services provided by the community testing centers. You can view the minutes of the meeting here.

The Sign-up for the new European Test Finder is now live!

Why should you sign up? This website enables people to easily identify nearest centers to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and STIs, in all WHO European countries (please see list of countries included here). The sign-up is free and puts you on the map, which allows users to locate all testing sites available to them.

Make sure your testing site is included! Find out more in the European Test Finder’s newsletter.

Important note: Please keep in mind that even if your center was registered in previous version of the website, information will NOT be transferred to the new website. It is important you register again in the new European Test Finder.

COBATEST is glad to announce first elections for the Steering Committee members which will begin their governance starting January 1st, 2022.

We want to extend thank you to current temporary Steering Committee members Lella Cosmaro (Lila Milano, Italy),  Sebastian Meyer (StopSida, Spain), Christos Krasidis (ASM, Cyprus), Daniel Simões (GAT, Portugal), and Andrii Chernyshev (Alliance Global, Ukraine). They all worked very hard during past 2 years to develop governance documents for the network in order to ensure smooth and democratic processes within the network.

All members of the network are highly encouraged to send in their candidacy (from September 20th to October 17th) to become new members of the Steering Committee and of course to vote during the elections (from November 11th to November 25th). You can find eligibility criteria and other details about the elections in the Call for Applications document and the Elections Announcement document. Active participation from the members is very important part of forming successful network! 

First half of COBATEST members annual meeting took place December 3rd 2020, where the 2019 Report was launched. You can view the report and minutes of the meeting online. Second half of COBATEST meeting took place June 18 2021, where the members discussed community service provision in times of the COVID pandemic. You can view the minutes of the meeting online. Both meetings took place online due to the pandemic.

A presentation made by Dr.Laura Fernàndez-López was granted Best Poster Awards at HepHIV conference. The work presented by Dr.Fernàndez-López was based on an article lead by EuroTEST and developed with join effort of COBATEST and other international organizations representing the community. The study investigated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on testing services for HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections in the WHO European Region, March to August 2020, based on the survey assessment developed by the partners and implemented in the participating regions. Please see full article online.

The HepHIV conference took place 5-7 May 2021 in an online format. Dr.Megi Gogishvili presented two abstracts based on the descriptive data collected by COBATEST network.

A poster was presented with descriptive data on Community-Based Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV, Sífilis and HCV in Europe based on data collected by COBATEST network members. Testing data presented was collected by 50 CBVCT services in 19 countries during the period of 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019, using the COBATEST standardized data reporting tools. Members reported total of 129,484  clients tested for HIV, 29,471 for Hepatitis and 28,747 for syphilis. The percentage of reactive HIV tests among members varied from 0.0% to 6.2%, with an average of 1.1%. Proportion of tests performed among population groups demonstrated need for CBVCT centers to scale-up access to HIV testing for SW and PWIDs and help them be aware of their infection status and further link them to proper care and treatment. Please find full presentation online.

A presentation was conducted on Evolution of key indicators for Community-Based Voluntary Counseling and Testing activity in Europe based on data collected by COBATEST Network during three consecutive years. From 2017 to 2019thirty-eight (2017) to fifty centers (2019) reported data using the COBATEST standardized data reporting tools. Members reported total of 371,227 clients tested for HIV, 45,399 for Hepatitis and 53,395 for syphilis. The percentage of reactive HIV tests across the years varied from 1.1% (2018 and 2019) to 1.3% (2017), with 1.2% for total population tested during the three years. Proportion of tests performed among population groups demonstrated that there are still gaps in testing, especially among transgender people and PWID. Further comprehensive research is needed to understand testing behavior of these groups so that CBVCTs can improve strategies tailored towards these clients. Please find full presentation online.

The COBATEST network is glad to announce upcoming collaboration with EuroTEST and with many other international organizations in a research led by EuroTEST on the impact of COVID-19 on the groups vulnerable to HIV and other STIs. Specifically, the study plans to learn impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on testing services for HIV, viral hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections in the WHO European region from March 2020 to August 2020. The data will be collected using online survey assessment.