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Health Ministry launches free home HIV self-test service

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The Ministry of Health and the State Coordinator for HIV and AIDS (CESIDA) have launched a new free HIV self-diagnosis service at home. The aim of this service is to facilitate access to HIV detection, allowing anyone to take the HIV test confidentially, in the place and at the time of their choice.

The process of obtaining the HIV self-test is easy and simple. Once the interested person has accessed the website of the ‘enVIHos’ program, they must answer a simple anonymous questionnaire, which collects information to understand the motivation for taking the test through this platform, and then, they must indicate an address where they wish to receive the test.

Subsequently, one of the collaborating pharmacies will send the test to the indicated address, within a period of 3-5 days. Once the person receives the test at home, they have Cesida’s resources at their disposal through an information card included in the self-test shipment, which indicates what to do in the event of reactivity of the test, how to request assistance and receive support from CESIDA entities throughout this process.

In Spain, in 2023, more than 48.6% of new diagnoses were late diagnoses and 7.5% of people with HIV do not know they have this infection.

What is HIV self-testing?

The HIV self-test is a self-diagnosis kit designed to detect the presence of HIV, without the need for prior health knowledge. The self-test can be of two types:

Saliva test: A sample of oral fluid is collected.

Prick test: A blood sample is collected.

Both tests provide results in just 20 minutes, offering a fast and effective option for self-diagnosis. Users should follow the specific instructions and recommendations included with the product to ensure accurate results.

To ensure that everyone has access to HIV testing, a limit of four free tests per person per year has been established.

This new initiative seeks to eliminate access barriers to HIV testing in areas without community resources, facilitating early diagnosis and promoting public health.

The coordination of the agreement depends on the Division of Control of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis of the Ministry of Health, which acts as a link between the companies that manufacture self-diagnosis products, the distribution companies and the pharmacies.

Following the positive results from the implementation of the agreement, it is expected that it can be extended until the end of 2026 and the collaboration extended to different pharmacies throughout Spain in order to reduce the undiagnosed fraction of HIV to less than 5%.

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