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HIV self testing in Italy

Since December 1, 2016 HIV self -testing (HIVST) kits are available in pharmacies over-the-counter in Italy. There is accumulating evidence of the effectiveness of HIVST free delivered by health services in promoting knowledge of their status among people living with HIV. To show the role of HIVST sold directly to consumers in favoring access to HIV testing, a study analyzed data on new HIV diagnoses observed in the six months following marketing of HIVST kits in the largest public HIV counselling and testing centre of the city of Rome. The study reported that, out of 36 persons newly diagnosed with HIV, 9 (23%) had a first positive results using HIVST.

Interestingly, they were all young Italian men having sex with men, 6 of them reported never been tested before. For 7/9 individuals the CD4 cells count was above 350 cells/mmc. Based on this findings the study reported that availability of HIVST trough pharmacies may favorably impact the access to HIV testing services. On the other hand, the study also speculated that to maximize the benefits of HIVST, countries should implement programs that promote access to HIVST for persons at high risk for HIV, such as key populations.

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Posted: 11 October 2017