Health Minister Advocates HIV/AIDS Self Test
- Written by Oluwafemi Olowookere
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has called on Nigerians to go for HIV test to enable them know their status and receive proper medication. The Minister made this call on Tuesday 14th November, 2017 while launching and disseminating the report of laboratory performance Evaluation of HIV Rapid Test Kits round 3 phase 1 and report of Evaluation of Amethyst HIV1and 2 Self-Test kit (Saliva cassette), in Abuja.
“Adewole said that HIV was no longer a death sentence. With proper medication HIV patient can live comfortably without transmitting the virus to his partners or any other person.”
The Minister said that, more than 14 million people with HIV (i.e. 40% of all people with HIV) did not know their status globally. In order to increase HIV Testing among those at high risk of HIV and support earlier diagnosis and access to treatment and prevention, WHO launched new guidelines on HIV self-testing during the World AIDS Day in 2016. The key recommendation of the guidelines was that HIV self-testing (HIVST) should be offered as an additional approach to HIV testing services.
HIV Self-Test refers to a process in which a person collects his or her own specimen (oral fluid or blood) and then performs a test and interprets the result, often in a private setting, either alone or with someone he or she trusts
Adewole said Self-testing is not a new concept; it is used in the diagnosis and management of other health conditions, such as pregnancy, diabetes and colon cancer.
He therefore urged the general public to go for self-test as he described it as more confidential.
He said “we are encouraging people to do self-test which to me is a new innovation; you can test yourself HIV, Blood Pressure, Sugar level etc., if you test yourself you will believe it and you cannot accuse of anybody of cheating on you. self-test gives you confidence, it takes away influence, it removes bias no stigma and it makes you believe on your result”.
The Minister appealed to anyone who tested positive to go forward for medication.
He said that the Present administration was committed to testing 90 % of Nigerians and placing them on treatment to prevent them from infecting their partners or any other person.
In his remarks on behalf of the HIV Test kits manufacturer, Eze Samuel Ohiri, (CEO) Hi Tech Diagnostic Ltd, Manufacturer of HIV test kits, commended the Federal government of Nigeria and partners that had jointly conducted the performance evaluation of the test kits. He expressed satisfaction with the way and manner the evaluation was conducted adding that the evaluation of the kits was just and fair to all the manufactures.