From Monday 21 to Monday 28 November 2022, the European Testing Week is takeing place, a campaign initiated at European level in 2013 and which aims to encourage the population to be tested as early as possible for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but also for other sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

Too many people living with a sexually transmitted infection don't know they are positive

Data from 2018 indicates that at least 36% of the 2.2 million people living with HIV in Europe do not know they are HIV positive. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), just over half (53%) of people living with HIV are diagnosed late, delaying access to treatment. In Luxembourg, the 2021 AIDS activity report published by the Surveillance Committee for AIDS, Infectious Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, estimates that 15% of people living with HIV are undiagnosed.

According to the Luxembourg's Ministry of Health, more people need to be aware of their infection. Screening is the most effective way to detect the disease and prevent its transmission, but also to treat it optimally. The sooner a person becomes aware of their infection, the sooner they can receive appropriate treatment, prevent possible transmission and improve their health. Indeed, today, advances in HIV treatment allow people living with HIV to live long and healthy lives, if diagnosed early enough.

In Luxembourg, an awareness campaign aimed at the youngest

In Luxembourg, institutions such as the HIV Berodung of the Red Cross, the CHL, the Surveillance Committee for AIDS, Infectious Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the Health Directorate participate in activities to promote this early detection. This year, an awareness campaign aimed at the youngest is set up to make them aware of the importance of screening and to encourage them to go and get tested.

From 22 to 25 November 2022, DIMPS-Mobile HIV Testing, the mobile HIV Berodung screening service of the Red Cross, will be present on the Kirchberg campus from 11:30 to 14:30, to offer students, but also anyone who wishes, the possibility of being screened free of charge and anonymously by rapid test.

The Ketterthill and Bionext laboratories and the analysis centres of the Zithaklinik and the Kirchberg Hospital of the Laboratoires réunis also organise free and anonymous screening during this week.

Ways to get tested

There are several ways to test for HIV:

  • The "classic" screening, by blood test, carried out six weeks after the last risk situation, offers a sure result.
  • Screening by rapid diagnostic orientation test (TROD) provides a result a few minutes after drawing blood from the fingertip and is reliable from twelve weeks after the last risk situation. However, always consult a healthcare professional for the interpretation of a positive TROD test.
  • The HIV self-test, also a TROD, can be obtained without a prescription at a pharmacy or by ordering from the HIV Berodung. It allows the user to do a screening test themselves, at home and, like the classic TROD, is reliable from twelve weeks after the last risky situation. It is also recommended to consult a healthcare professional for interpretation.

Getting tested remains possible throughout the year:

By rapid test:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays from 17:00 to 19:00 at the HIV Berodung service of the Red Cross, 94 boulevard Général Patton, L-2316 Luxembourg;
  • Thursdays from 12:30 to 14:30 at the Centre LGBTIQ+ Cigale, 16 rue Notre Dame, L-2240 Luxembourg;
  • Tuesdays from 17:00 to 19:00 at Building 4 (Third cultural place), 66 route de Luxembourg, L-4221 Esch-sur-Alzette.

By blood test (without a prescription, free and anonymously):

  • 24/7 at the Center Hospitalier de Luxembourg, Unit 20-Infectious Diseases, 4 rue Barblé, L-1210 Luxembourg;
  • Monday to Friday from 07:30 to 15:30 at the National Health Laboratory (Laboratoire national de santé - LNS), 1 rue Louis Rech, L-3555 Dudelange;
  • Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 17:00 at the Emile Mayrich Hospital Center, rue Emile Mayrisch, L-4240 Esch-sur-Alzette.

Further information is available online via: www.sante.lu, www.dimps.lu and https://www.testingweek.eu/about-european-testing-week/