The World Health Organisation has encouraged people to take advantage of the self-testing HIV kits that are now available globally.
The global health body says doing so will enable people to detect their HIV status privately, and enable them to take decisive steps in addressing the outcomes.
“HIV self-testing means people can discover their #HIV status in private using oral fluid or blood finger-prick self-tests.
“It opens the door for many more people to know their #HIV status and get treatment and prevention services,” WHO says in an early Sunday morning tweet via its verified Twitter handle @WHO.
The WHO message was marked with hashtag #SelfCare Month.
According to the National Agency for AIDS Control, Rapid Self-Test is done entirely at home or in a private location and can produce results within 20 minutes.
You can buy a rapid self-test kit at a pharmacy. The only rapid self-test currently available in the US is an oral fluid test.
In Nigeria, HIV self-testing (HIVST) provides people with a convenient, discreet, and empowering way to know their HIV status.
A January 2021 study led by Chisom Obiezu-Umeh and published in BMC Public Health states that HIV self-testing preferences among Nigerian youth appear to be influenced by several factors, including lower cost, less invasive testing method, location of testing, and linkage to care and support post testing.
“Findings underscore the need to address young people’s HIV self-testing preferences as a foundation for implementing programs and research to increase the uptake of HIVST,” the scientists say.
HIV/AIDS test kit is distributed across pharmacies in Nigeria, and price varies in different pharmacies.
According to the National Agencies for AIDS Control, HIV self-testing (HIVST) was first proposed in the mid-1980s, since then there have been concerns about the availability of treatment and how people may respond to receiving a positive result.
“In 2014 UNAIDS set ambitious new treatment targets that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have durable suppression.
“However, currently only an estimated 54 percent of people living with HIV globally know their status. Increased uptake of HIV testing is essential in reaching the 90-90-90 goals,” NACA states.
HIV self-testing can be used by partners of PLHIV as a strategy for Partner Notification Service, or for periodic re-testing in known discordant couples.
HIV rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) used by self-testers can perform as accurately as when used by a trained tester, provided the HIVST products meet quality, safety and performance standards.
In-person demonstrations and other support tools, such as videos, may also enhance the performance of HIVST.
HIV self-testing can be delivered through various approaches in the public and private sectors, including community-based, facility-based, and internet-based channels.
HIVST may be done by an individual alone (unassisted) or with the assistance of a trained provider (assisted). PUNCH