Following an invitation from Greek authorities, ECDC Director Marc Sprenger and experts from the ECDC Programmes for Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV and blood-borne infections and Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-associated Infections will visit Greece on 29 and 30 November 2012.
The purpose of this ECDC visit is to discuss the current situation regarding HIV, antimicrobial resistance and vector-borne diseases in Greece with the experts from the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) and the Greek Deputy Minister of Health.
ECDC will present the key findings from an in-depth assessment of the overall HIV situation in Greece and, in particular, the on-going outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs in Athens. Possible ways to scale up interventions to prevent onwards transmission among people who inject drugs will be discussed. ECDC has assisted the Greek authorities in their response to the HIV outbreak in the past months. The risk assessment will also be presented at public health conference on 30 November 2012 on the eve of World AIDS Day on 1 December.
Discussions with the KEELPNO experts will also include the challenges regarding the increasing antimicrobial resistance in Greece based on latest data on antibiotic resistance from EARS-Net, released on 16 of November 2012, on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day.
Discussions will also focus on the future collaboration of ECDC with KEELPNO and the provision of technical support for Greece’s fight against antimicrobial resistance. This comes after an invitation to ECDC by KEELPNO requesting technical support to help curb antimicrobial resistance.Update: This is apparently no courtesy visit. According to this new Reuters story, ECDC's Marc Sprenger has told the Greeks they need to start supplying free needles, syringes, and opioid substitutes to drug-injecting addicts, or face an out-of-control HIV/AIDS resurgence. Not what Greece really needs at the moment.