Good response to HIV self-testing kits – Minister Anthony
In February, the Ministry of Health through the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) introduced for the first time HIV self-testing kits to citizens. Before this, anyone wanting to know their status had to visit one of the HIV sites to get tested.
Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony M.P, said Wednesday that persons are responding favourably to using the ‘OraQuick’ self-test.
“We have been using this test and we’ve gotten good results so far,” the minister noted. He said this will allow for more persons to get tested for the disease, since they could conduct the test in the comfort of their homes.
“Research has shown that persons might still be reluctant after all these years to come to a testing site to be tested and therefore, what we’re doing is making the test much simpler and available so people can have access to kits that they can take home and administer,” he said.
Dr. Anthony explained that NAPS has been tasked with assessing the tests to ensure persons who tested positive get access to treatment.
He added that the self-testing kits will be rolled out to clinics across all the regions once the desired results are met.
“The team at the National AIDS Programme Secretariat, they would be evaluating these pilot testing that we are doing, and once we are satisfied, we are going to roll that out to all of our clinics countrywide so that when persons come, they can access these tests,” Dr. Anthony said.
Additionally, to prevent persons testing positive and failing to report to the authorities, NAPS will ensure the proper tracking and monitoring of persons who purchase these tests.
In light of the government’s commitment to eliminate HIV from Guyana by 2030, self-testing is believed to be one of the best practices in getting more persons tested and treated earlier for the virus.