AHF expanded its programs to Portugal in early 2013 when the country was facing difficulties due to the financial crisis. In Portugal AHF works on the testing and linkage program with GAT, an organization based in Lisbon. GAT- Portuguese group of treatment activists, founded in 2001, is a structure of individual membership and cooperation between people from different communities and different organizations affected by HIV. GAT advocates legal and political changes that positively affect the health, rights and quality of life of people living with HIV or at risk of acquiring. GAT is running a Checkpoint (HIV prevention center) and IN –Mouraria harm reduction center in Lisbon. AHF supports the operations of the Checkpoint and IN-Mouraria where rapid and easily accessible HIV testing is provided to targeted populations. AHF is also supporting free condom distribution, advocacy activities and availability of rapid testing through some of GAT’s partners.
Free onsite HIV testing is provided in Lisbon Checkpoint and IN-Mouraria, and during outreach events through the country.
We also distribute free condoms during marketing campaigns and outreach events. AHF is also supporting GAT’s effort to increase the availability of Rapid Testing services in the country, through some of GAT’s partners that work with priority groups
Portugal is the third EU country with the biggest HIV incidence. The incidence has increased both in heterosexual and homosexual groups. The prevalence among men having sex with men remains a major concern as it’s growing in absolute figures (24% of new infections).
There has been a decrease in the incidence among people who inject drugs (PWID, about 10% of new infections) but that is counterbalanced by reported increases in relapses (heroin related mostly) and by a financial gap in harm reduction (e.g. needle exchange programs). It is, however, the highest incidence rate in Western Europe.
The rate of late diagnosis is around 65%, above the European average. The average CD4 cell counts at the time of diagnosis are between 183 and 264.
In the “Stigma Index Portugal” study 30% of the participants reported cases of stigma and discrimination in healthcare services or related to healthcare professionals.