29/11/2023 – World AIDS Day is back and healthcare workers and volunteers promptly return to the streets of Parma to inform and involve the population on prevention and early diagnosis tests, in collaboration with the Municipality of Parma. They will be in Piazza Garibaldi under the Grano porticoes, Saturday 2 December from 8.30am to 5.30pmthe professionals of Infectious diseases of the University Hospital Company, of Pathological addictions service, of the street unit and of Youth Space of the Local Health Authority together with volunteers and medical students to meet citizens, inform about prevention and offer the possibility of taking a free HIV test from 10am to 3pm.
“Getting tested for HIV should be considered an integral part of your self-care routine, without fear or shame – he claims Federica Carli coordinator of the provincial commission for the fight against AIDS and doctor of the infectious diseases clinic of the Maggiore hospital – In fact, the HIV virus does not discriminate based on age, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status: we must think that each of us can be exposed to the risk – he continues – it is therefore crucial to underline that even after a positive result, a fulfilling and productive life. Because the person living with HIV, subjected to current therapies, is not contagious either for his partners or for others”.
FROM THE ESCAPE ROOM TO RADIOFFICINA
Among the volunteer organizations present, the Italian Red Cross will set up the “Escape Illness” Escape Room, in which groups of citizens will be able to participate by entering a closed room, where they will try to solve puzzles on the topic of HIV-AIDS as a solution to escape. Two “peer educators” from high schools are also collaborating on the initiative and will carry out awareness-raising activities for young people and all citizens on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and related stigma at specific info points. Volunteers from the Grano were also present under the porticoes of the Grano Italian Secretariat for Medical Students (SISM)with a specific information activity aimed at peers and the association The eighth color which will focus on the connection of the HIV issue with the culture of the LGBTQIA+ community, while Radio workshop will be present to create content on the topic, involving young and old citizens.
The set of planned initiatives is part of the “In the square against AIDS” project, created to reconcile the population’s awareness-raising activity with that of specific prevention for young and very young people on the occasion of World Day. The initiatives are organized by the Provincial Commission for the fight against AIDS, which includes professionals and operators from the University Hospital, Local Health Authority, Municipality of Parma, Italian Red Cross and volunteers from the associations The Eighth Color, Italian Secretariat for Medical Students and ARCA Onlus.
These days also, with the slogan “The bright side – I love life even with HIV. Thanks to the test, I am in therapy and I am not transmitting the infection”, it is also spreading in Parma and its province information campaign of the Emilia-Romagna Regionwith dozens of dedicated posters in the waiting rooms of the two healthcare companies, targeted communications on social media, spots on local radio and TV with testimonies from AIDS Commission professionals.
TESTS ALL YEAR ROUND
It is always possible to carry out the HIV test at the infectious diseases sampling clinic of the Maggiore hospital in Parma on the 2nd floor of the Medicine Tower (entrance from via Volturno) from Monday to Friday, from 10.00 to 12.00 with free access. Specifically “trained” nurses carry out pre-test counseling, providing personalized information. The clinic, led by Federica Carli, is part of the Infectious Diseases Operational Unit directed by Gabriele Missal, currently follows approximately 1,200 patients suffering from the infection and carries out more than 500 screening tests each year. Among residents of Parma and its province in 2022, 33 people were diagnosed with HIV infection, the majority of whom were men in the 30-64 age group (to which are added seven people not resident in Parma).
In the majority of cases the infection occurred following heterosexual intercourse. It is also possible to carry out the HIV test at the Ser.DP in via dei Mercati 15/ba Parma with free access from Monday to Thursday from 9.30 to 13.30, on Tuesday and Thursday also in the afternoon from 14.30 to 16. For information you can consult the website of the Emilia-Romagna Region www.helpaids.it e il regional Help Aids toll-free number 800 856080where it is possible to receive information anonymously and free of charge from Monday to Friday from 2pm to 6pm and on Mondays also from 9am to 12pm.