Improving Quality in HIV Prevention in Europe
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IQhiv is an initiative of civil society, government, academic and international organizations investigating quality assurance and quality improvement practices relevant to HIV prevention programs and projects across Europe. The initiative grew out of an international conference on quality and HIV prevention held in Berlin in October 2008. This conference – “How Do We Know What Works? Strengthening Quality Assurance in HIV/AIDS Prevention in Europe” – was organized by the German Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) and WHO/Europe.

The conference, the first of its kind in Europe, gave government, academic and civil society experts from 24 countries a platform to exchange knowledge and experience in the area of quality assurance and quality improvement in HIV/AIDS prevention with the aim of reinforcing the effectiveness of HIV prevention in the European region. The conference was also the starting point for regular meetings of a core group of stakeholders interested in quality issues in HIV prevention.


The IQhiv Initiative

After a series of meetings in 2009, the core group formally launched the IQhiv initiative. The premise of the initiative is that the widespread use of quality assurance and improvement tools in HIV prevention will:

  • Support the inclusion of good practice approaches in multilateral and national strategic and action plans.
  • Improve the effectiveness and standing of these approaches in countries where they are already well-established.
  • Support their introduction in countries working to strengthen their HIV prevention programs.

Stakeholders represented at the initial conference in Berlin and at the group’s symposium at the IAC 2010 in Vienna identified quality as a gap and responded enthusiastically to the prospect of developing tools tailored to HIV prevention.

Working Definition

IQhiv pursues its mission and objectives based on the following working definitions adapted from the quality field:

  • Quality is the capacity to achieve legitimate and reasonable goals for positive health outcomes in a manner consistent with current professional knowledge and standards.
  • Quality Assurance formally monitors the quality of services and activities against standards, including review, problem identification and corrective action.
  • Quality Improvement formally identifies, implements and evaluates strategies to increase the capacity to fulfil and exceed quality standards.

IQhiv considers quality improvement the most proactive and potentially rewarding component of quality work in the field of HIV prevention.