HIV testing just got easier: swab oral fluid from the inner lining of your gum and run the test kit to know your HIV status in 20mins, all in the comfort of your home!
On the heels of following innovative health breakthroughs around the globe, news has it that barely five days after an FDA panel recommended the first ever HIV prophylactic drug, Truvada to be used by healthy people in the prevention of HIV infection, another US Food and Drug Administration Agency panel yesterday, unanimously voted in favour of recommending OraQuick In-Home HIV Test Kit, which will be first of its kind to be sold over-the counter. It is easy to use and produces result in 20 minutes with test specimen taken from the oral fluid (not saliva) on the gum line. The test is said to be about 93% accurate for positive results and 99.8% accurate for negative results, so it is strongly recommended to carry out further laboratory test to confirm any HIV-positive results.
According to the Centre for Disease Control, CDC, in the United States alone, of the 1.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS, about a quarter of a million people are not aware they have the disease because they have not been tested, while an average of 50, 000 Americans become infected each year. Back home here in Nigeria, the Director-General of our National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Professor John Idoko announced barely a month ago, that we averagely produce 70, 000 HIV-positive babies annually (in Nigeria alone) making us “responsible for 30 per cent of the global burden of newborns that are born HIV positive- mainly because women do not take up the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, PMTCT, intervention efforts.”
Amongst all the talks, increasing awareness and sensitization on HIV/AIDS, there are still a pocket of people who don’t yet take the disease very seriously while the bulk of the remaining populace at large still grossly stigmatize people living with HIV/AIDS. So in the end, anything that encourages more people to be tested for HIV is definitely a step in the right direction.
An interesting thought however, as noted in one of the interviews, is probably the psychological impact on a person who suddenly realizes he/she is HIV-positive at home and the fear of suicidal tendencies.
But anyway, first things first, DO YOU KNOW YOUR HIV STATUS???