World AIDS Day in Rome

HIV self-testing kits go on sale for first time in Rome.

The Italian ministry of health has launched its annual AIDS awareness campaign in time for World AIDS Day on 1 December.

For the first time, HIV self-testing kits will be available at Italian pharmacies from 1 December. Distributed by Mylan, the kit costs €20, guarantees anonymity and will be sold to adults without a prescription. The test involves a small sample of blood from a finger prick, and the results are ready within 15 minutes. The test is described as almost 100 per cent accurate.

In Rome the infectious diseases clinic at Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital on Via Portuense 292 is offering free testing for HIV on 1 December, from 17.00 to 19.00. The test is offered anonymously and the results, which are ready within 20 minutes, are communicated verbally by a doctor.

People in Italy with concerns about HIV/AIDS can call the free-phone AIDS helpline, tel. 800861061, Mon-Fri from 13.00 to 18.00. The line’s expert operators are on hand to answer questions and offer advice in four languages: Italian, English, French and Portuguese.

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.

Italy is in 13th place in Europe in terms of new diagnoses. 3,444 people in Italy discovered they were HIV positive in 2015, a ten per cent reduction from the 3,850 new cases in 2014.

For details of hospitals and clinics in the Lazio region offering tests for HIV and other infectious diseases see the Regione Lazio website.

Launching its campaign to End AIDS by 2030, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 18.2 million people have accessed HIV treatment by mid-2016.