HIV Self-Test Kit may be Available from Dec - Vibes Of India

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HIV Self-Test Kit may be Available from Dec

| Updated: October 3, 2022 15:22

HIV diagnosis in India is set to take a big leap forward. Currently, HIV testing in India is mainly laboratory-based. A national study, unveiled last week, to gauge the acceptability and feasibility of self-testing kits to identify HIV got a massive thumbs-up from the community. The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) sources said that the first self-testing kit could be launched in India by December 2022.

A total of seven kits are currently at various stages of approval from the Drug Controller General of India. There are four WHO pre-qualified and three indigenously developed kits ready to hit the Indian market.

The study was conducted in 50 districts across 14 high HIV prevalence states among nearly 93,500 participants. The overall acceptability for self-testing kits was 88 percent and as high as 97 percent in certain sections of the population surveyed. About 95 percent of the users found it easy to use and interpret the results. Almost 70 percent said they were willing to pay for such a test.

In self-testing, a person collects his/her own saliva or blood samples, and then using a rapid test kit, performs an HIV test. The results are available in 20 minutes. Self-testing would allow one to take the test easily within the comforts of their home or any other location. The idea is that HIV kits are readily available in pharmacies and becomes as normal as doing a pregnancy test.

Experts believe that thanks to increased testing the number of people aware of the disease could increase significantly.

The survey was conducted by NGO PATH, the global non-profit organisation, in collaboration with NACO and others such as Humsafar Trust and BEST from Mumbai.

The study was carried out among people living with HIV (PLHIV), partners of PLHIV, self-identified high-risk individuals, individuals referred by private physicians and employees of some industries. Nearly 68 percent of participants were men, 27 percent were women and five percent were transgender. “A self-testing kit will be key in providing the last-mile connectivity to individuals who are unable or unwilling to go for regular facility-based testing,” said Dr Asha Hegde, deputy director, operations-HIV-TB at NGO PATH.

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