HIV, hepatitis tests available at pharmacies in Cascais, other towns

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 11-10-2018 09:35:00 · 0 Comments
HIV, hepatitis tests available at pharmacies in Cascais, other towns

The first rapid test kits for the HIV/AIDS and hepatitis viruses are to be made available from Wednesday at pharmacies in Cascais, near Lisbon, with the programme to be gradually extended to other parts of Portugal, the government said.

In comments to Lusa, the assistant secretary for health, Fernando Araújo, said that Cascais is to be the first place in the country to use the rapid test for HIV and hepatitis B and C, at community pharmacies as well as pathology and clinical analysis labs.

Staff at most pharmacies in Cascais have already been trained by the sector's national association to enable them to carry out such tests, provide specific counselling and identify risk factors.

Depending on the result of a test (even if it not positive), either staff at the pharmacy or the person taking the test may call the Ministry of Health's 24-hour helpline, which will then make the referral for them to repeat the test and, if a positive is confirmed, to be followed up by doctors.

Araújo recalled that the ministry still intends by the end of the year to make it possible for members of the public to purchase testing kits at pharmacies and then take them at home.

With these measures, the ministry aims to improve early detection of HIV and viral hepatitis infections, to make Portugal “a country free of the HIV/AIDS epidemic” by 2030.

Almada, Amadora, Loures, Oeiras, Odivelas and Sintra - six municipalities in the Greater Lisbon area - and Portimão in the Algarve all signed up on Wednesday to a commitment to adopt a similar programme to Cascais.

Araújo highlighted the importance of reducing the rate of infections above all in Greater Lisbon, which accounts for half of all new HIV infections in Portugal. He noted that the country has seen a significant decrease in the overall rate but continues to have more cases relative to population than the European Union average.


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