COBATEST Network was present in the 2022 version of EECA Interact, a scientific workshop on HIV, Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Dr. Megi Gogishvili presented the progress of data from COBATEST EECA members. Data shows that there is big gap between HIV testing among MSM and other vulnerable groups in EECA, specifically among transgender people, PWID, and SW. Low percentage of persons tested during past 12 months and high proportion of reactive test results indicates need of increase in testing outreach programs in EECA. Overall, increase in participation from EECA members has been found in COBATEST network, but data submission is not consistent throughout 5 years. Please find full presentation online.

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.