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Keywords:

  • access;
  • diagnosis;
  • Europe;
  • health services;
  • HIV

With universal access to effective combination antiretroviral therapy (ART), people in need can gain effective treatment but are only able to benefit from these advances if they are aware of their serostatus and have effectively accessed testing services. Despite the expectation that ART would lead individuals to seek earlier testing, this trend has not been observed in practice, with stable or even increasing rates of late diagnosis in Europe being witnessed. Ahead of a gathering of key European stakeholders in Brussels in November 2007, we reviewed testing strategies across European countries. We show differences in policy and practices. Moreover, HIV testing strategies are changing, in line with new global guidelines issued by World Health Organization headquarters, and a number of countries are promoting an expansion of routine and opt-out testing. However, gaps in our understanding of effective testing strategies remain and, as a consequence, national policies across Europe remain incoherent and often lack an evidence base. This is likely to have serious public health implications.