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How are home testing kits for HIV affecting the the world HIV Situation?

Knowing your status is the first step in the long and seemingly never ending battle against a virus which has become on of the leading causes of death in Africa and the rest of the world.

The stigma attached to HIV/AIDS appears to have lessened as people have become more open to the fact that HIV can strike anyone, it is not a disease of the marginalised. However because of the stigma and the fear, people have not been making use of the testing facilities at their disposal in the manner and quantities provided by the various health authorities.

Testing yourself at home, in private may just be the alternative needed by those who are afraid to test for HIV where another person may be involved are now able to do so in complete privacy.
As a result more people are becoming aware of their status and making the necessary changes to curb the spread of the virus.

Home testing would make a huge dent in the numbers and alleviate the pressure on an already strained health care system, particularly in developing countries.

 

In which countries are HIV home test kits available?

  • Self test kits will be made available in France in early 2014 for this very reason. Although percentage population infected with HIV is not as high in Africa this is a measure which aims at keeping the number of infections down and in fact decreasing it.
  • The home test kit for HIV has been available in Turkey for a number of years after it was presented to the general populace on a news broadcast which included the presenter being tested in front of the live television audience.
  • Certain states in the USA have the home test kit available amongst which Dallas, Texas was the first. The availability has however spread further around the USA.
  • South African Medical services have made an instant results kit available which will still have to be bought and used at a clinic. There are however a number of Home Test Kits available for purchase online. The instructions are easy to follow and results simple to interpret.

Counseling plays a big part in the testing and diagnosis of an HIV infection. HIV counseling is aimed at pre and post test candidates regardless of the outcome in order to guide them into certain behavioral changes which will prevent further spreading of the HIV infection. The lack of counseling when a test is done at home is a large concern to the South African medical fraternity and at this stage is one of the main reasons for not making the HIV Home Test Kit freely available.