European HIV and Viral Hepatitis Test Week promotes free screening

in News · 23-11-2019 20:00:00 · 0 Comments

European HIV and Viral Hepatitis Test Week begins on Friday, 22 November, with screening in more than 30 locations across the country, targeting the most vulnerable populations, promoters of the initiative announced on 21 November.

By November 29, community-based organizations will conduct nationwide screening for HIV and viral hepatitis, which is “free, anonymous and confidential,” they said in a statement.

In Lisbon, for example, there will be two screening tents at Martim Moniz, as well as a mobile unit on the Setúbal Peninsula, which will operate between 10am and 6pm.

With the motto “Test. Treat. Prevent ”, the test week is open to anyone who wants to be screened, but with a particular focus on populations most vulnerable to HIV infection, viral hepatitis B and C, including men who have sex with men, migrants, sex workers, prisoners and people who use injecting drugs.

In addition to offering screening in different parts of the country, information material on infections to be screened as well as condoms and lubricating gel will be provided.

“Only by taking the test it is possible to know the serological status for these infections. Currently, with proper treatment it is possible to cure hepatitis C infection. Likewise, through early and effective treatment for HIV infection, it is possible to achieve undetectable viral load, thus making the virus non-transmissible,” stress promoters.

European Test Week remains a unique regional initiative bringing together public and private organizations in a joint effort to promote the importance of screening.

In Portugal, it is coordinated by the GAT - Treatment Activists Group association, through the Community Screening Network project which, in July 2018, was selected for the first compendium of good practices of the World Health Organization - Europe.

The GAT'AFRIK team, GAT's new service targeting the migrant population, will provide screening sessions at both tents at Martim Moniz.

“The team, being located in a migrant socialization zone, intends to make this new service known and to promote early diagnosis,” said the statement.

In 2017, it was estimated that 2.3 million people lived with HIV in the WHO-Europe region and one in five people were unaware of their HIV status.

Also in WHO-Europe it is estimated that 15 million people live with hepatitis B and 14 million with hepatitis C.


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