HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, free tests until November 29 –

from Health editorial staff

In Italy, the Lila, League for the fight against AIDS, in the field with testing services in 8 cities: Bari, Cagliari, Como, Florence, Livorno, Milan, Trento, Turin

The restrictions imposed in the last two years by the Covid pandemic have heavily affected the screening services dedicated to HIV, Hcv (hepatitis C) and other sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis, risking to inflict a hard blow to prevention. Restarting with the tests is therefore very important. In October 2020 Unaids (United Nations program for HIV and AIDS) raised the alarm for the significant contraction of HIV testing services in all countries with available data, including Europe. Also for this, from 22 to 29 November, in 53 countries of the WHO (World Health Organization) European region, the European Test Week takes place: over 600 communities, NGOs and public institutions have come together to offer free exams and consultations for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other sexually transmitted diseases (HERE the link to find the nearest center where to undergo the tests). The European testing week has been promoted by Eurotest since 2013 and takes place twice a year. The objectives are to make citizens aware of the importance of examinations, but also to press on institutions to facilitate the use of screening.

Quick, anonymous and free tests

UN, WHO and Unaids ask for the removal of possible barriers that hinder the use of the test (prescriptions, request for documents, inconvenient hours and discrimination against the most vulnerable groups), making it accessible also to minors, aged 14 and over. La Lila, the Italian League for the fight against AIDS, on the occasion of the European testing week, strengthened its services, active all year round, and on the pitch in eight cities: Bari, Cagliari, Como, Florence, Livorno, Milan, Trento, Turin. Screening carried out through quick tests, salivary or capillary, anonymous and free, to detect HIV, Hcv, and syphilis. Pre- and post-test counseling and information interviews are also offered. In the event of a positive result, the person is supported and accompanied for the confirmation test and, possibly, for access to treatment. Getting tested for HIV is essential to protect your health and that of others. According to Eurotest data (2018) 36% of the 2.2 million people living with HIV do not know their health status. Over half, 53% of HIV positive, received the diagnosis very late, often when AIDS has already developed. Delaying access to treatment makes it more difficult to recover from the state of health. Conversely, starting treatment early can lead to a life expectancy similar to that of the healthy population.

Infections transmitted through sex

In our country over 90% of people with HIV under treatment reach the state of virological suppression: the level of the virus in the blood falls, that is, to levels so low as to make it not transmissible to other people. This allows you to maintain a good state of health, a freer and more satisfying sexual and relational life and, also, to have children in a natural way. U=U, Undetectable = Untransmittable, it means that if the virus is not detectable it cannot be transmitted, even if the condom is not used. Expanding, facilitating and promoting the use of testing is a fundamental step for the UN objectives which they set out to defeat AIDS by 2030. Unaids asks all member countries that, by 2025, 95% of people with HIV are made aware of their serological status and that 95% of them receive adequate treatment reaching the state of virological suppression. Among the objectives of the 2030 agenda there is also control of hepatitis and other communicable infections. Hepatitis B and C, often concomitant with HIV, concern, respectively, fifteen million and fourteen million people in Europe. They are often asymptomatic infections, are not treated and tend to become chronic in most cases, constituting one of the main causes of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Most people with hepatitis C remain undiagnosed e only a small minority in Europe, 3.5%, receive the necessary treatment. Yet current treatments allow for complete recovery from hepatitis C and effective control of hepatitis B. In general, all rapidly growing sexually transmitted infections can lead to serious complications if left untreated. (Source: Social editor)

November 23, 2021 (change November 23, 2021 | 18:46)

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