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Find out where to take free tests in Fortaleza

Find out where to take free tests in Fortaleza

Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is available free of charge through the Unified Health System (SUS) year-round in Fortaleza. The test can be done at the health center in the area where the user lives or at a Test and Counseling Center (CTA).

In 2022, the capital of Ceará received 75,100 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) tests from the Ministry of Health (MS). In addition to HIV testing, the municipality of Fortaleza (PMF) provides tests for syphilis and hepatitis B and C.

“To access the tests, the user needs to look for the health center of the same area. If you do not want to do it in this location, you can look for the test and counseling center located at Rua Jacinto de Matos, 944, Jacarecanga, ”says Marcos Paiva, counselor Technical field of sexually transmitted diseases ( sexually transmitted diseases) / AIDS in Fortaleza.

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In addition, the Municipal Health Secretariat (SMS) has a channel for answering questions on the topic in the Instagram account, @tweet.

“If a person sends a question with a message to Fortaleza’s prevention profile, there will be a professional on standby to answer users’ questions. In addition to suspicions, we work to calm the cases of people who test positive. We have units that provide services to promote immediate treatment of infected people,” Paiva details.

Marcos also points out that Fortaleza has seen an increase in demand for tests over the years: “In 2019, MS sent 18,819 tests to the city’s health system. In 2020, we received 31,172 tests. In 2021, there were 65,800. Last year , we got 75,100. That’s a sign that people are looking forward to getting tested.”

Users have reported that the tests are difficult to access

For the first time trying to get the tests done at a health center, a 22-year-old man, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he had difficulties getting tested at Dr. Luis Costa, in the Benfica neighborhood.

“Although the professional who helped me was very helpful, the way to get to it was very tiring. I had to consult with at least three other professionals on site. I kept knocking from door to door in the center until someone could explain what action I could take. “.

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According to him, although he was able to take the test in a center in the Benfica neighborhood, there is a lack of campaigns on this subject. “In the past, I’ve seen more discussions on this topic, especially during Carnival,” he concluded.

Another 21-year-old Fortaleza resident, who also preferred to remain anonymous, said he tried to contact the Miriam Porto Mota Health Center, in Dionisio Torres, by phone.

“Since I got no response, I went to the site. I went to the front desk, spoke to the attendant, and she asked me if I had a registration or if I was from the neighborhood, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to take the test in the unit. Since I don’t live in that neighborhood , I couldn’t take the test, even after I tried to insist that there was no way I could go to the one in my neighborhood because I work all day and the post closes at 5pm.”

When questioned, Marcos Paiva, the sexually transmitted diseases (STIs)/AIDS technical advisor in Fortaleza, said he was aware of the complaints from users of the units and was explaining the alternatives with the regional coordinators.

“It is important for a person to look for a health unit close to his residence. What the administration is doing to speed up operations is for other professionals to be able to carry out tests and reveal the necessary information about the infection,” adds the consultant.

In addition, nurses, dentists, family medicine residents, and nursing and medical students, with appropriate supervision, will in the future be able to take exams, expanding their ability to perform. The deadline for this adjustment has not been communicated.

HIV cases in Fortaleza

The number of reported HIV cases in Fortaleza, from January 2018 to December 2022, was 4,042. Of this amount, 499 were diagnosed in pregnant women. A total of 3272 (81%) were detected in males, and 770 (19%) in females. Data taken from the transparency portal of the Health Secretariat of Ceará (CESA), IntegraSUS.

Regarding the age group, the highest number of cases has been recorded among people between the ages of 20 and 29 (1,688). This value is followed by the group of people between the ages of 30 and 39 (1103); 40 to 49 years old (603), over 50 years old (414) and adolescents 13 to 19 years old (215). Within this amount, 19 cases had no informed ages.

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In total, according to the city council of Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará avidly houses eight thousand people diagnosed with HIV who are being followed up by municipal services.

Testing and Consulting Center

With HIV/AIDS (SAE) outpatient services, residents of Fortaleza can access services related to sexually transmitted diseases. A person who wants to take the test at the Testing and Counseling Center located at Rua Jacinto de Matos, 944, can look for the unit at the following times: Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 11 am and from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Marcos Paiva, STIs / AIDS technical advisor in Fortaleza, stresses that regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, everyone is susceptible to STIs.

“The issue is that the transgender, transvestite, gay and men who have sex with men (HTH) population is, from a sociological and discriminatory point of view, very vulnerable. It is difficult for these people to ensure the rights validated in the health unit,” he assesses.

According to him, the professionals who make up the health unit have awareness to better serve this population. “We have cases of transgender and transvestite people who don’t even seek basic health services anymore, because when they get there they don’t even respect a social name. That’s why we’ve been going to basic units to discuss stigma and prejudice in these places,” he concludes.

For any symptoms of STDs, the user should go to the health center nearest to home. If the user does not feel comfortable in a health center in the same area, he can request specialized care service (Check out the addresses in the link).

Project “Now is the time”

Since November last year, people from Fortaleza have had another access to HIV diagnosis and AIDS prevention. The project “the time now“It focuses on the most vulnerable population who have less access to the health network. The purpose of the action is to provide self-tests by mail or to be collected from a digital locker at Benfica metro station.

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Regarding the locker installed in the subway station, the SMS representative said that the access has not yet been released. “The ministry is still having difficulties passing the tests for oral fluids. If we launch the cabinet now, we will have problems, because we have no way to replace it. MS promised all this week to pass the promised tests, at the moment we are working on a blood test.”

Vaccines and treatments

The above infections have their own characteristics, vaccines or treatments. The main way to prevent infection with hepatitis B virus is the vaccine available in the SUS for all unvaccinated persons, regardless of age. Even if infected, hepatitis B can be cured in most cases.

Regarding hepatitis C, it is one of the few chronic diseases that can be cured. When this is not possible, treatment seeks to contain the progression of the disease and avoid complications.

As for syphilis, the infection is treated with benzathine penicillin (benzetacil), which can be applied in a basic health unit. “Syphilis is found all over the country, and although there is a 100% cure rate from it, it is still a serious disease, as people have avoided seeking out services to test it,” explains the technical advisor.

For HIV, treatment is based on administering antiretroviral drugs to patients. Having a positive result does not mean imminent death.. If the patient undergoes appropriate treatment, he will already have an undetectable viral load within six months.

He concludes, “Keeping that viral load undetectable for another six months, we’re saying this person doesn’t transmit HIV sexually. Undetectable means undetectable. People are afraid and prejudiced, so we need to demystify it.” These myths,” he concludes.

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Sexually transmitted diseases
Immunity deficiency Virus
Hepatitis b
Hepatitis c
IST test