The Correlation Expert & Member Meeting: a closure to the first year of the BOOST project

In December 2023, the first year of the BOOST project was successfully completed, a milestone celebrated during the Correlation European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN) Expert & Member Meeting in Budapest, Hungary, from the 4th to the 6th of December.

Over 130 participants from 34 different countries participated in the meeting, including representatives from 40 Focal Points, which are the national reference points for the collection of data and information on harm reduction initiatives. The meeting served as a platform to present C-EHRN´s work in 2023, highlighting its activities, achievements and results, showcasing the progress of the BOOST project.

On December 5th, BOOST was presented in the Infectious diseases in community-based settings – The BOOST Project session by key project partners: Georg Bröring, Iga Jeziorska and Katrin Schiffer fromC-EHRN, along with Mat Southwell and Lynn Jefferys, of the European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD).  With the aim to enhance the implementation of high-quality people-centred community-based communicable diseases services during the first twelve months, the project’s activities have mainly focused on gathering all relevant data on the current situation of harm reduction (HR) centres regarding the provision of communicable disease prevention services, the barriers in their uptake, and the perspectives and experiences of people who use drugs. The resulting data will be used in the upcoming months to inform project’s partners and consequently start implementing strategies for the improvement and accessibility of these services.


Multi-Modular Survey

Aim: Assess the current practice and quality of communicable diseases service provision by community-based harm reduction organizations. The survey has received 64 responses.  

Main findings: Stigma and discrimination, and mental healthcare were identified as the most challenging areas for accessing these services, and lack of funding as the highest barrier to the delivery of infectious diseases prevention services.

Community-led Monitoring and Service Development Dialogue – Focus Group Discussions (FGDs)

Aim: Assess the needs and challenges for the implementation of community-based good practices in the field of HIV/HCV/HBV prevention, treatment, and care. Four FGDs were conducted by the focal points of each country in Antwerp (Belgium), Brno (Czechia), Helsinki (Finland), and Italy (pending results) including a total of 30 participants.


Main findings:

  • Differences in access and restrictions to HR services between locations;
  • Testing services for communicable diseases are generally available and accessible;
  • Low levels of stigma and discrimination, anonymity in testing, and rapid results reporting are valued among users. 

Advocacy Dialogues

Aim: Identify advocacy priorities on which to build a joint advocacy strategy to ultimately strengthen and consolidate European HR networks.


Main findings: The main advocacy priorities identified to be at the centre of the joint strategy include: reducing stigma, a human rights-based approach in drug policy, stable funding, decriminalization, integrated and people-centred approaches, and capacity building among service providers, and equitable service availability and accessibility

The Correlation Expert & Member Meeting allowed for the opportunity to present and share the progress of the BOOST project with key participants of Harm Reduction Networks. BOOST has notably contributed in compiling robust evidence on the current situation of HR centres on the provision of communicable disease prevention services, which will serve as the groundwork to start addressing unmet needs. Additionally, BOOST has advanced in the consolidation of a European HR network in the upcoming years.


This first year of the BOOST project has indeed been a success, yet this is only the foundation of what is to come in 2024… ACTION.

Link here to read the full report.