Scientific Highlight – 16th ESC Congress


Scientific Highlight – 16th ESC Congress

Diana Kostrzewski, Germany


Diana Kostrzewski is a project manager at the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) in Germany within the HIV/ STI Prevention Unit. She is responsible for developing and conducting national prevention programs and campaigns for specific target groups as migrants, young people and the total population. She holds a Master´s Degree in Politics, Sociology and Education from the University of Bonn that included a study abroad at the University of Adelaide (Australia). She has extensive experience in the areas of communication, education and training in the public, scientific and private sector, as she has worked as a project manager in international management consultancies, private training institutions, research organizations and EU-education programs.

Impact of Zanzu ( – New ways in improving access to sexual and reproductive health and rights

Background: In 2016 the multilingual website on HIV and other aspects of sexual health was launched in Germany and Belgium. The website offers holistic and a right–based information in 13 languages and addresses two target groups. The intermediaries (doctors, counselors) who work with migrants who have recently come to Germany and Belgium and don’t speak the respective languages yet and the migrants themselves. The objective is to offer scientifically correct, easy accessible information on all aspects of sexual health to enable migrants to access services and realize their sexual rights.

Description: Zanzu has been developed by the German government organization Federal Centre for Health Education and a Belgium NGO Sensoa in collaboration with an international advisory board. Its objective is to offer a comprehensive tool to intermediaries who work with migrants in Europe (also in the context of refugee movements) to facilitate communication, counselling and treatment in the context of HIV and all related issues. Zanzu has been tested with the ultimate target group to ensure acceptability and an evaluation has been undertaken with the intermediaries who have been using Zanzu in Germany. Since the launch ZANZU had over 3 million visitors (approx. 3200 per day).The average time on page is 3 minutes.

Lessons learnt: Not only the website metrics show the need for this new instrument. The need is confirmed on a qualitative basis by the professional associations and by the professionals questioned in the context of the evaluation named above. The fact that two European countries invested in a platform to facilitate access to information on HIV and related issues of sexual health in 13 languages led to broad discussions, but also to protests internationally. Intermediaries welcome Zanzu but report some difficulties to integrate it into their daily (counseling) practices.

Conclusions / next steps: Access to neutral, objective, trustworthy information in the field of HIV and sexual health is necessary for migrants and new-comers in European countries. It is the basis for a self-determined and empowered approach to HIV prevention. Intermediaries though need more support to apply Zanzu in their daily routine. Zanzu is made available to other European countries at the moment (Netherlands and Norway).

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