On the occasion of World AIDS Day on 1 December, the Italian ministry of health has launched an AIDS awareness campaign called “Non abbassare la guardia, fai il test” (Don’t lower your guard, take the test). In Rome, the infectious diseases clinic at the Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital on Via Portuense 292 is providing free HIV screening for everyone on 1 December between 08.00 and 18.00.
This is the third consecutive year of the hospital initiative which, in addition to HIV testing, offers free counselling and information about the disease including preventative measures. The S. Gallicano di Roma hospital on Via Elio Chianesi 53 is offering the same service, from 08.00 to 20.00. In Italy about 4,000 contact HIV every year. The health ministry has released new data showing that in 2010 over 80 per cent of new infections were attributed to unprotected sexual activity.
Those diagnosed as HIV positive in 2010 were found to have an average age of 39 years for males and 35 years for females. More than a third of those diagnosed with HIV in Italy are at an advanced stage of the disease. They are on average over the age of 40, have generally become infected through heterosexual contact, and are more likely to be foreign. Across Italy on 1 December from 08.00 to 20.00, people with concerns about HIV/AIDS can telephone the free-phone AIDS helpline, tel. 800861061, whose experts are on hand to answer questions and offer advice.
The search for preventative vaccines continues, at clinics in Modena, Monza and in Rome at S. Gallicano. Since 1988, World AIDS Day has been held annually on 1 December and is an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died as a result of HIV. Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital, Via Portuense 292, tel. 065594555. S. Gallicano di Roma hospital, Via Elio Chianesi 53, tel. 065291103.