Dagny C. Krankowska, Panagiota Lourida, Siobhan M. Quirke, Melvina Woode Owusu, Nina Weis,

Barriers to HIV testing and possible interventions to improve access to HIV healthcare among migrants, with a focus on migrant women: Results from a European survey

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Health Policy

AbstractBackgroundAccording to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports, women and migrants are more likely to have delayed HIV diagnosis (CD4 <350 cells/mm3). As a follow‐up to a previously published systematic review revealing a range of barriers to HIV testing among migrant women, the aim of the present study was to identify barriers to HIV testing from the perspective of service providers and to formulate possible interventions to improve access to HIV healthcare among migrants in Europe, with an emphasis on migrant women.MethodsBetween November 2021 and February 2022 an online survey, consisting of 20 questions, was forwarded to 178 stakeholders and non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) working with migrant populations in 33 countries from the World Health Organization (WHO) European region.ResultsForty‐three responses from 14 countries were analysed. Most respondents (70%) judged migrants’ access to healthcare as worse than that for the resident native population. Only 2/11 prevention interventions were available to all in at least 50% of participating countries. The three main barriers to accessing healthcare for migrant women and reasons for late HIV diagnosis among migrant women were stigma and discrimination, language barriers, and cultural barriers.ConclusionsMany HIV prevention interventions are not free of charge for all within Europe. The results of this survey show that migrant women face many barriers to accessing healthcare and that these might contribute to late HIV diagnosis. Simplification of access to free healthcare for all, more awareness raising about HIV screening and prevention among migrant women, and more migrant‐focused outreach programmes are suggested to improve migrant women's access to HIV healthcare in Europe.

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