Souliotis Kyriakos, Tsiakalakis George, Golna Christina, Sifaki-Pistolla Dimitra, Dedes Nikos & Lazanas Marios

Background: Access to laboratory testing services for HIV in Greece is persistently challenged and this impacts both the continuum of care and, potentially, equity in access.

Methods: A cross-sectional study with two parts (first part: HIV-positive people/PLWHIV; second part: HIV clinicians) was conducted in Greece to quantify challenges regarding access to laboratory testing for HIV. Data were collected through online surveys, during a one-month period, between 2019 and 2020. The total sample consisted of 153 PLWHIV and 26 HIV clinicians.

Results: Access to viral load testing varied significantly according to place of residence (p = 0.029) and year of diagnosis (p = 0.054). Patients diagnosed after 2015 reported worse access to viral load testing (72.7% vs. 85.9%). Over one third of respondents perceived viral load tests as being not at all accessible (11.4%) or somewhat accessible, only after facing multiple systemic obstacles (24.2%). Equally, most of HIV clinicians reported barriers or no access to baseline viral load testing (80%) and baseline genotype resistance tests (96%).

Conclusions: Access of people diagnosed with HIV to CD4 lymphocyte tests and genotype resistance screening is significantly challenged in Greece, especially after 2015. Addressing this challenge is critical in removing access barriers and achieving the UNAIDS 95-95-95 HIV elimination goals.

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 19(21), 14353, 2022 DOI: