Point-of-care HIV and hepatitis screening in community pharmacies: a quantitative and qualitative study

Inês Figueira, Inês Teixeira, António Teixeira Rodrigues, Ana Gama, Sónia Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Point-of-care tests can contribute to earlier diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, thereby affording the opportunity to prevent chronic stages and the spread to others. As part of the Fast-Track Cities initiative, a pilot study was initiated in community pharmacies in Portugal. Aim: To characterize the individuals choosing to have point-of-care testing or screening for human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B virus infections in community pharmacies, their risk behaviours and motivations to perform the tests, as well as to understand the facilitators and barriers from the perspective of pharmacists. Method: A quantitative and qualitative study was conducted. A survey was applied to test users in pharmacies between May and December 2019, and three focus groups were conducted with six, four, and five pharmacists involved in the initiative. Qualitative data were analysed according to thematic content analysis. Results: A total of 210 questionnaires were collected (57.9% response rate). Point-of-care test users were predominantly male, mean age of 35 (± 13.0) years, the majority had higher education level, and 22.8% were born outside of Portugal. Almost half of the users were first time tested and the main reason for screening was unprotected sexual intercourse. Pharmacists identified speed, confidentiality, counselling provided to users, pharmacists’ initial training to perform the tests, and trust in the pharmacist as facilitators of these tests. Stigma associated with infections, the procedure, logistical conditions, and the referral process were considered as barriers. Conclusion: Pharmacies are a screening site with special importance for individuals who are first tested, heterosexuals, and some migrants. Nevertheless, it is necessary to understand and reduce barriers and increase the support to specific groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1168
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Barriers
  • Community pharmacy
  • Facilitators
  • Point-of-care tests


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