FG mulls HIV self-test kit to increase interest
The National AIDS and STDs Control Programme (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) said it is set to introduce HIV Self-Testing kit in Nigeria.
NASCP organiser, Dr. Godwin Emmanuel, stateed yesterday in Abuja that the action was sequel to recent approval by the Ministry of Health of the national ‘Operational Guidelines for the Delivery of HIV Self-Testing in Nigeria’ that outlines modalities for conducting HIV self-test in the country.
According to Emmanuel, many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status, adding that the nation was yet to meet up with the recommended number of HIV testing and counselling sites needed for a desired scale up.
He said that the kit would offer greater confidentiality and privacy, from the individual purchasing an easy-to-use, pocket-friendly diagnostic kit from a designated outlet to self-running the test in the privacy of one’s home or other desired locations, without the knowledge of anyone.
“Elsewhere, HIV self-testing has been identified as a strategy that will contribute to the attainment of UNAIDS global 95-95-95 goals – treatment of 95 per cent of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 95 per cent of people who know their status on treatment, and 95 per cent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
“As part of measures to promote HIV Self-Testing by FMOH, Oraquick HIV self-test kits was recently evaluated by FMOH across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria in line with national guidelines to assess the efficacy of the test kits for use in Nigeria.
“The evaluation showed at 98.4 per cent specificity and sensitivity to detect HIV antibodies one and two among Nigerians,” he added.
Oraquick HIV self-test kits is currently used in more than 50 countries and is certified by World Health organisation (WHO), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).