Brazil: Pharmacies start selling HIV “Self-Test”

Brazil began selling self-tests for HIV virus in pharmacies, becoming the first Latin American nation to market these tests.

The self- tests were first launched Rio de Janeiro, followed by Sao Paulo and Espírito Santo. By the end of the month they are expected to reach the whole territory. The “self-test”, approved by the National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance (Anvisa), allows the user to know if he is carrying the AIDS virus, which is very useful in a country of more than 200 million inhabitants where the people are often reluctant to go to diagnostic centers.

According to data from the Fiocruz public medical research foundation, approximately 20% of the 800,000 HIV-positive people in Mexico are unaware that they are HIV-positive. The sooner the virus is detected, the better it is treated. The problem is that many Brazilians do not get tested in the hospital, out of shame or fear of being victims of discrimination.

The “self-tests” are already commercialized in countries like United States, United Kingdom and France. Brazil offers free treatment to anyone diagnosed as HIV positive. The test was developed by a local company OrangeLife. The test works by collecting a drop of blood mixed with a reactive product to detect antibodies that signal exposure to HIV. With a price between 60-70 reais (USD18-21 dollars), the result is known in 20 minutes.

The manufacturers claim the test is 99.9% accurate and reliable, a rate that surpasses the detection capability of tests that use saliva and are marketed in the United States. According to the company OrangeLife, the tests are produced in a factory in Rio with a capacity to prepare 100,000 units per month. For all the stakeholders including pharmaceuticals, doctors, and the manufacturer, this test represents an important advance in the fight against HIV.


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