HIV self-testing kits will go on sale in Luxembourg pharmacies and supermarkets within the coming months
HIV self-testing kits will be rolled out in Luxembourg pharmacies and supermarkets within months.
The announcement was made by health minister Étienne Schneider (LSAP) on Thursday, adding that the kits take less than half an hour to give a result.
“By encouraging the sale of HIV self-diagnostic devices in pharmacies and supermarkets, Luxembourg will offer a complementary HIV testing option that also helps to remove some barriers to diagnosis. A person who knows his or her HIV status can adapt his or her behaviour accordingly and thus protect himself or herself and others,” Schneider said.
Presenting the 2018 progress report of the Aids Surveillance Committee on Thursday, the minister reported that 2018 was the first year in which the number of HIV infections in Luxembourg declined significantly. He said that there were 43 new HIV infections, compared to 60 in 2017.
A dramatic decline in infections was observed among men having heterosexual sex, which more than halved in 2018 (14 down from 31 the year before) and among intravenous drug users which also more than halved (4 down from 19). The latter group reached levels last reported in 2010.
However, there was an increase among men having sex with men, with 21 cases, up from 15 the year before. According to the ministry, over half of new infections in this group was reported among men aged 26-35. In 2017, Luxembourg rolled out the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an anti-HIV medication for HIV-negative individuals to take before coming into contact with HIV, to prevent infection. It also includes education on condoms, vaccinations and regular screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
According to Aids committee chair Dr Carole Devaux, some 118 people, including one woman, are currently receiving PrEP, which is reimbursed by the CNS and dispensed by the pharmacy at the CHL. According to the ministry, no HIV contamination was reported within the treatment group.
The minister said Luxembourg was committed to meeting the UN 90-90-90 target, seeking to ensure that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV will know their status.