The HCDCP of Thessaloniki

Since 1998, Thessalonica’s Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) has been the regional office that co-ordinates, supports, plans and carries out actions in northern Greece aimed at informing and preventing infectious diseases, while also offering psychosocial support to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals and those close to them.

Many of the activities of Thessalonica’s HCDCP are complementary and co-dependent on the activities and programs carried out by the central department of the organization, but there are some activities that are organized and carried out entirely by the personnel of Thessalonica’s HCDCP.

Thessalonica’s HCDCP covers a wide range of activities, including the following:

A. Informing activities/training

  • Informing the student population, in co-operation with elementary and secondary school administrations, on issues concerning conception and contraception, HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), iogenic hepatitis and tuberculosis.
  • Experiential training of the student population regarding HIV/AIDS and STDs, and self-esteem reinforcement, in small groups and health education groups, in co-operation with the secondary school administrations.
  • Experiential training of educators at elementary and secondary school levels pertaining to ‘Bigender Relations – Sexual Health Education – HIV Infection’

B. Consulting/support/intervention/information

  • Interventions are carried out at a community level aimed at dealing with crises.
  • Consultative support and psychotherapeutic sessions are offered to all HIV-positive individuals, as well as to their partners and their families, from the beginning of their HIV-positive diagnosis, whether they are monitored at the Unit of Specific Infection (USI) of Thessalonica’s University Hospital (AHEPA) or at other units of Greece. In co-operation with the USI of Thessalonica’s University Hospital (AHEPA), consultative support is available before and after the antibody detection test for HIV infection.
  • Supplying information to the public on STDs and HIV over the phone, anonymously and confidentially.
  • Providing information to clinicians on West Nile Virus infection.
  • Providing information to the public on West Nile Virus infection.
  • Informing the public about HIV/AIDS and STDs regarding organized activities/actions concerning 1st December as well as others, such as the Book Festival and the International Fair of Thessalonica.

C. Epidemiological monitoring

  • Contribution to the reinforced system of epidemiological monitoring of HCDCP in co-operation with the health directorates of each state.
  • Participation in the distribution of preserved material and transport of clinical samples for investigating suspected cases of avian influenza and swine flu (H1N1).
  • Participation in influenza monitoring using the system of morbidity observation by primary health care doctors of the Institute of Social Security health care units (ISS of Northern Greece) during seasonal influenza.
  • Participation in the specialized system of mortality. This system is in effect in 20 European countries within the European Union (EU) Program Euro-MOMO (Euro Mortality Monitoring). The program in Thessalonica is carried out in co-operation with the Registry Office.
  • Participation in HCDCP sero-epidemiological research concerning West Nile Virus.

D. Interfacing/co-operation

  • Thessalonica’s HCDCP co-operates closely with different medical services and health organizations, and referrals are made accordingly.
  • Long-term co-operation with different organizations of northern Greece has led to the creation of an informal network for the realization of informative actions regarding HIV/AIDS and STDs. The actions concern the organization and realization of events and conferences. Co-operation with municipals and prefectures of northern Greece, non-governmental organizations, prevention centers, hospitals, technical institutions, and college youth groups/organizations of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of Macedonia and the Democriteian University of Thrace, is included.

E. Organization/convention and conference support

Thessalonica’s HCDCP participates in the organization and realization of events and seminars in northern Greece, planned by the HCDCP head offices in Athens.