HIV tests can already be purchased in the Pharmacy and made at home

HIV tests can already be purchased in the Pharmacy and made at home - 

Pharmacies and parapharmacies will begin marketing the kits starting next week. No prescription required. If you want to know if you are infected or not, simply poke your finger and collect three drops of blood. Prices should vary between 20 and 25 €.

Starting next week it will be possible to buy HIV tests from pharmacies and pharmacies that can then be done at home. According to the Jornal de Notícias (JN) and TSF, this Sunday, the law had allowed this hypothesis since October 2018, but no pharmaceutical company had yet advanced with a request to market these tests in Portugal. A joint circular of five Ministry of Health entities to the national pharmacy network and health services was also missing.

According to JN, the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) has now received the registration of the first brand to want to market a self-diagnosis test in Portugal and pharmacies have also started ordering the self-tests that will be sold to the public. Mylan was, for the time being, the only test-producing brand registered with Infarmed to market them in Portugal. The newspaper said that the devices should cost between 20 and 25 €.

Cited by the same newspaper, Raquel Duarte, Secretary of State for Health, says the sale of self-diagnosis tests for HIV is "another alternative to make the detection, but it allows to make the test anonymously and autonomously", allowing to reach to more citizens who would not otherwise take the test.

All the material needed to perform the test already comes in the kit that is purchased. If you want to know if you are infected or not, simply poke your finger and collect three drops of blood. In about 15 minutes you will have access to the results with these quick screening tests starting next week to be sold at these locations. If the result is positive, the user should contact the SNS 24 contact center who will refer him to a hospital to repeat the test. If the positive result is confirmed, the patient will be followed at the National Health Service.

Although very reliable, they are not diagnostic tests, but only diagnostic guides - which are only possible using conventional laboratory tests. In the case of HIV, it is necessary to observe the so-called window period, which is three months after exposure or contact. The advantage is that with this model involving pharmacies and laboratories, there is a guarantee that the pharmacist or other healthcare professional will communicate the result and refer the person to medical care.

As the PUBLIC newspaper reported in March 2018, pharmacies and clinical analysis laboratories were allowed to perform rapid tests for the detection of HIV infection and viral hepatitis (B and C) without prior medical prescription.

Invoking “the defense of the public interest” and recalling that the late diagnosis rate of HIV / AIDS in Portugal is “among the highest” in the European Union, the Ministry of Health has authorized the use of devices for these rapid tests in pharmacies and also in pathology and clinical analysis laboratories. Membership of the establishments is voluntary.

“What interests us is to diversify the ways people access the tests. This will make it possible to identify cases of infection earlier and ultimately contribute to reducing social stigma, ”said the Director of the National Directorate-General for Health (DGS) HIV / AIDS and viral hepatitis programs at the time. the doctor Isabel Aldir.

This type of testing has been available for years in hospitals and health centers, HIV / AIDS early detection counseling (ADC) centers, integrated addiction and dependency response (CRI) response centers and various organizations. community-based, where they are free.



Source: Website of "Público" newspaper and author on 23 September 2019.