HIV self-testing on cards

The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe

07/09/2014

 

by shamiso yikoniko

Government will soon introduce HIV self-testing kits as a way to encourage people to know their HIV status, The

Sunday Mail has established.

The development follows revelations that of the 196 000 people who went for HIV tests since last year, only 185

000 collected their results.

However, Government hopes the self-testing kits will encourage more people to know their HIV status.

According to 2012 statistics, 1.4 million people in Zimbabwe are living with HIV.

The director of Aids and TB unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi said the ministry

was undertaking an assessment before the introduction of the HIV self-testing kits. “Before we introduce

something new to the people, we run feasibility and acceptability tests as a way to check if the people are ready

to receive the new product,” he said.

“By the end of the year we should be releasing preliminary results on the assessment which will guide us on the

decisions we are supposed to make.”

HIV self-testing kits, also known as self tests, allow people to test themselves for HIV without the aid of a

healthcare provider.

The kit allows an individual to test a blood or saliva sample and interpret the result within 20 to 40 minutes.

The test requires users to swab their upper and lower gums for the saliva sample.

The swab is placed in a solution, which allows the test reaction to develop.

Currently, more than 1 600 health care facilities are providing free integrated HIV testing and counselling services

through ante-natal clinic, opportunistic infections (OI) clinics, stand alone testing and counselling centres,

outreach centres, TB and STI clinics.

The United States has effectively used HIV self testing kits (OraQuick) since last year.

OraQuick also provides a 24 hour toll free telephone counselling service and helps link people who test positive

to a nearby clinic.

Though most African countries have not embraced HIV self testing kits, in Kenya, self-testing for healthcare

workers is being implemented.

Today’s News: AIDS related articles compiled by UNAIDS

This compilation is for your information only and should not be redistributed

. Views expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of UNAIDS

HIV self-testing offers an approach to scaling up testing that could be high impact, low cost, confidential and

empowering for users.

UNAIDS says that self-testing could be a solution in parts of the world where people living with HIV are not

reached by existing services and do not know their status.