DGS calls for free screening of HIV infections and viral hepatitis until 22 May

Screenings are free and anonymous, in more than 20 organizations of the Community Screening Network spread across the country

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) today appealed to the population to be screened for HIV infections and viral hepatitis, as part of the European Test Week, which aims to raise awareness of the benefit of early diagnosis.

From today until the 22nd of May, the population can carry out the screenings, which are free and anonymous, in more than 20 organizations of the Community Screening Network, spread across the country, whose location can be consulted on the DGS website (www. dgs.pt).

"This initiative aims to raise awareness of the benefit of early diagnosis of HIV infections and viral hepatitis, as well as the effectiveness of adherence to treatment, in full respect of the principle of confidentiality", says the DGS in a note published on the 'site' .

The Directorate-General for Health, through the National Program for Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV Infection and the National Program for Viral Hepatitis, joins the other countries in Europe, reinforcing the need for continuity of appropriate responses on the part of the services accompanying patients at higher risk.

“Today there are effective treatments for HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, several studies indicate that people who take the test and are diagnosed early have better health outcomes than those who choose not to do so», he stresses.

This week's promotion is an initiative of EuroTEST, since 2013, in partnership with community, health and political institutions of the European Region of the World Health Organization, and takes place twice a year - in spring (May) and autumn (November) - to encourage increased testing by improving accessibility.

“Preventing, Testing and Treating HIV infection and viral hepatitis are essential strategies and must be maintained in times of crisis. Take the test!», recommends the DGS

According to the latest report presented by the DGS and the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), the number of new cases of HIV infection maintained a downward trend in 2020 and 2021, with 1.803 diagnosed in this period, a situation that has already been observed since the beginning of the century.

In 2020, 870 new cases of infection were reported and in the following year 933, corresponding to an average rate of diagnoses for the biennium of 8,7 cases per 100 inhabitants, not adjusted for the delay in notification, says the document.

Viral hepatitis has been recognized as one of the main causes of mortality worldwide, causing about 1,34 million deaths per year (about 4 thousand per day), surpassing that caused by other infectious diseases, including HIV infection ( 680), malaria (627.000) and in parallel with tuberculosis (1,4 million).