Kenya launches HIV home test kit

Kenya launches HIV home test kit

  • Has 80% accuracy

  • Produces result in 20 minutes

The Kenyan Government has launched an HIV home test kit to further check the growing incidence of HIV and Aids epidemic among young people.

According to a report by STANDARD DIGITAL,  an online publication  of the Standard Media company of Kenya, the kit, which allows individuals to self-test in the convenience of their home, has 80 per cent rate of accuracy and targets sexually active, high-risk girls and young women aged 15 to 24.

Kenya’s National Aids Control Council (NACC) Executive Director Nduku Kilonzo said there were many sexually-active students who were reluctant to visit HIV-testing clinics.

Dr Kilonzo, who was speaking during the launch of the kits by the National Aids and STI Control Program (Nascop), and the Ministry of Health, said close to 500,000 people still did not know their HIV status. She added that the home test kits would lead to reduced HIV cases among teens.

“This will also reduce the economic impact of HIV in the country as more people become aware of their status.”

Nelly Mugo, a research scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, said the kits target young girls because they are the ones most socially, structurally and biologically susceptible to contracting STIs.

“Young women’s bodies are highly susceptible to STIs at this age and this is why we are taking a keen look at the group,” she said.

Head of Nascop Martin Sirengo said the kits, which will involve a blood test or swabbing the mouth for oral fluid samples, makes the results available immediately (for the blood test) or after 20 minutes.

“The tests are highly sensitive and have an 80 per cent accuracy rate; that is why if you test positive, you will need a follow-up test,” said Dr Sirengo. He added that the cost of the kits was still high as there were only two such products in the market.

“Since there are only two companies registered at the moment, the kits sell for between Sh700 and Sh800,”  (about 7 and 8 dollars) he said.

 

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