Marisa Vitorino Figueiredo

Despite the detailed information and risk-calculation tools they contain, smartphone apps focusing on HIV/AIDS are no substitute for a visit to the doctor. However, they can be a stepping stone towards raising awareness of the disease. eHealth represents a wide market – there are over 100 thousand health-related apps on the market - but to mark World AIDS Day, get to know some of the tools dedicated to fighting this epidemic.


Most of the available apps focus on information on HIV, including statistics, glossaries, and even updates on medical research advances in the field. This is the case of an app named The Body, which features an exhaustive range of information on the subject. Aside from general data, it also contains sections with information aimed at high risk groups, access to forums with advice from specialists and even a special area for those who have just been diagnosed, featuring statements and advice from HIV-positive people on how to cope with the illness. The app is available for iOS and Android devices. 


Also focused on education, AIDSinfo hopes to “translate” the jargon of HIV/AIDS, i.e., to explain the scientific aspects of the disease in a way the average person can understand. The tool was developed by the American Department of Health, and is available in Spanish as well as English. It contains over 700 definitions, and is available for iOS and Android.


With regards to risky sexual behaviour, the HIV Risk Calculator app, only available for Android, will calculate your odds of contracting the virus that way, although it does not intend to replace real-life medical advice. It can be used to find out the risk level of different sexual practices, find safe sex advice and information on how to take – and interpret – an HIV test.


In Portugal, aside from the app market, the Portuguese League Against AIDS has a nation-wide helpline. By dialling 800 201 040 it’s possible to talk and ask for advice from an assistant specially trained in HIV/AIDS.