Rapid testing of HIV and HBC/HVC in Portugal
On March 12, 2018, the Portuguese government authorized rapid testing for HIV and hepatitis B and C in pharmacies and laboratories without a doctor's prescription, according to the Ministry of Health. The decision will come into force 30 days after signing.
In Europe, it is estimated 15% of people living with HIV are not diagnosed; that means one in seven HIV-positive people do not know their status. Portugal is no exception. In spite of the fact that since 2000 the annual number of new diagnoses of HIV and AIDS has been decreasing, the level of late diagnosis of the disease in Portugal remains the highest in the European Union. A similar situation exists with late detection of viral hepatitis.
To this end, the Government of Portugal seeks to improve the availability of early detection of HIV infection and viral hepatitis and has authorized pharmacies and laboratories to conduct tests without involving a doctor and with confidentiality rules in place. Pharmacies and laboratories in Portugal are important providers of health services, given their proximity and position of trust. Prices for tests are not yet established.
Thus, the government of Portugal wants to achieve the goal that, by 2020, 90% of people will know their HIV status, and by 2030, elimination of viral hepatitis B and C.