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World AIDS Day: WHO proposes HIV self test kit for India

HIV self test kit

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed the HIV self test kit for the first time to the Health Ministry on the occasion of World AIDS Day observed on Dec 1 every year. The kit has made possible HIV self-testing in the privacy of one’s home.

Self-testing will be particularly relevant for those people who may find it difficult to access testing in clinical settings and might prefer self-testing as their method of choice. Results of the test can be seen within 20 minutes or less. Those with positive results are advised to seek confirmatory tests at health clinics.

The move assumes significance as the lack of HIV diagnosis is a major obstacle to reducing the burden of the infection worldwide because it hinders the government and public health agency to offer anti-retroviral therapy or other treatment options to those suffering from the disease.

Though India currently does not allow HIV self-test, the UN agency’s guidance has even prompted the health ministry here to evaluate the proposal. In reply, the health ministry has said they would look into the possibility of adopting the self test kit.

Twenty three countries currently have national policies supporting HIV self-testing. Many other countries are developing policies, but wide scale implementation of HIV self-testing remains limited, the report said.

In India around 87% of HIV-infected people are not even aware that they are suffering from the disease and may be unknowingly spreading the virus. While, globally around 40% of all people with HIV or over 14 million remain unaware of their status.

In 2015, the total number of people living with HIV in India was estimated at 21.17 lakh, whereas 86,000 new HIV cases were found.

World AIDS Day in Bhubaneswar:

A number of programmes were hosted in Bhubaneswar to mark World Aids Day. Over 15,000 students of KISS formed a human ribbon to spread awareness on Aids while an annual mini marathon was organised in the morning by a media house.

 

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