Routine medical tests to include HIV

Routine medical tests to include HIV

It is causing controversy – but DGS health chiefs have decided to include HIV/Aids testing in all routine medical exams, whether patients request it or not.
The news, reported in Diário de Notícias, is designed to cut down on the number of cases that come to light “too late for treatment”.
According to DN, 200 new cases are reported in Portugal every year, but over half of these are diagnosed too late, which clearly puts more pressure on health services.
Already, 35,000 AIDS patients are being treated by the SNS national health service, adds the paper.
António Diniz, director of Portugal’s HIV/ Aids programme explained patients will still be entitled to opt out of the test, but that the whole idea is to bring everyone between the ages of 18-64 up to date with their health situation.
Some agree, but critics from HIV/ Aids support associations are not so sure.
Gonçalo Lobo from Associação Abraço maintains the new testing rules might leave patients “feeling guilty and segregated”. He also wondered whether doctors were ready to give their patients the bad news.
But as expert Bacelar Gouveia considered, the test plan should bring advantages as it will mean patients are diagnosed earlier.