HIV self-test will be available nationwide by the end of July in pharmaciesThe product, which costs between R $ 60 and R $ 70, It can be purchased without a prescription, and testing produces results 10 minutes after blood contact with the reagent.
The self-test to detect the presence of HIV virus in the body should be available in pharmacies across the country until the end of the month. This week, the first test of its kind to be sold in Brazil started coming to pharmacies in Rio de Janeiro. The product, which costs between R $ 60 and R $ 70, It can be purchased without a prescription, and testing produces results 10 minutes after blood contact with the reagent.
Brazil is the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to provide the self-test in pharmacies. For the director of STD, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health, Adele Benzaken, the product is an important tool to increase the virus diagnostic capability. To detect the presence of HIV in 90% infected people is one of the UN's goals (HIM) for 2020.
“We advocate both with respect to the self-test because we believe that it expands and the diagnostic coverage. They have people who do not want to go to the clinic for an HIV test”, she ponders, which warns that the positive result in the self-test is not a diagnosis. for such, We need confirmation from other tests and monitoring of health professionals. “The pharmacy is not confirmatory test. With positive self-test, should immediately seek health unit to make new confirmatory tests”, Explain.
According to the director, the product will not be purchased by the ministry to be made available in health facilities because of its price. “From a financial point of view, it is too expensive to adopt. Today, the Ministry of Health takes rapid testing for US $ 2. At this moment, we think the most advantageous is to continue buying the rapid test already bought and distributed”.
According to pharmaceutical Orange Life, producing the kit in the country, the distribution will be carried São Paulo and Espírito Santo next week, and then expand to the rest of the national territory. The first 10 testings thousand kits were distributed to some pharmacy chains in Rio over the last week.
The responsible technical Orange Life, Larissa Lima, He says the test has 99,9% precision, but only detects the presence of HIV at least 30 days after intercourse when there was transmission. Before that, the individual organism has not yet produced antibodies – and they are pointing to the presence of the virus during the test. If the result is negative, It is recommended to repeat the test more often, 30 days later, 60 days later and 90 days later, second Larissa. In addition to the instruments to the test, the test package contains the contacts Health Hotline (136) and a number of his own pharmaceutical company, which will also provide information to the user for free.
The director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Evandro Chagas, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Valdiléa Veloso, He believes that the test will be important for HIV-positive can start treatment earlier, allowing a better quality of life: “If diagnosed and treated early, to life expectancy [of people with HIV] It is similar to the general population. So, it is important that they test”.
The researcher believes that the possibility that the test be done at home is a tool to bring the testing to people from vulnerable groups, who are afraid to seek health service. “This provision in the pharmacy is an opportunity for people who do not feel well in the health service can buy the test, to test and get your results in a reserved manner”.
for Valdiléia, the arrival of self-test and the adoption of pre-exposure prophylaxis, treatment regularly consumed drugs reduce the chance contagion, complete the range of HIV prevention in the country. “Barriers still remain prejudice and discrimination, and this causes people not to open to talk about risk, prevention. This primarily to delayed diagnosis”.
Activist for preventing HIV, Josimar Pereira da Costa is a member of the executive secretary of the NGO Forum / AIDS and developer of the Group for Life. He agrees that more possibilities for testings are welcome, but notes with concern the tests done at home. Josimar calls for more awareness campaigns to break down prejudice against HIV-positive population and demystify what living with the virus, so that the person you have a positive result in self-test is better prepared.
“Brazil is a country where there is a lot of stigma against HIV, and the person is afraid to reveal, fear of exposure, because of the whole issue. There is a prejudice that sees the person as untouchable. It is labeled as promiscuous”, he says. “You have to give a lot of support to that person, who tested alone at home and found that has an incurable disease against which there is still a huge stigma”.
Costa living with HIV for 27 years and also believes that the basic health units need to be well prepared input ports to meet those who underwent the home test. “In the family clinic, for example, You have to be prepared from the health care provider who will receive this person”.
The director of the Ministry of Health states that the folder campaign to combat discrimination and points out that the experience of countries in which the test was made available is positive. “The self-test is a reality outside of Brazil for over a decade and we have no evidence that it causes any harm to the person who is positive autotestada. It does not differ from other [who tested elsewhere]”, points.