Portugal approves sale of test kits for HIV, hepatitis in pharmacies

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Lisbon, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — Kits to test HIV, hepatitis B and C will be allowed to be sold in Portugal’s pharmacies without prescription under new legislation approved by the government on Thursday.

According to the legislation, approved by the cabinet at its regular weekly meeting, the over-the-counter self-testing kits will be made available to the public without the need for a prescription.

The kits are highly reliable, Minister of the Presidency and Administrative Modernization Maria Manuel Leitao Marques said in a statement.

According to the statement, the aim of the kits is to “make Portugal a country free of an epidemic” of the HIV virus by 2030, and to lower the number of late diagnoses.

The measure is based on recommendations from the United Nations and World Health Organization, following suit after countries such as Spain, France, Belgium and Italy, the statement said.

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