WHO issues new guidelines on HIV testing to check spread
SEE ALSO :Teacher’s 39-year battle with diabetes“This will help reduce the 1.7 million new HIV infections occurring every year,” says WHO. WHO also recommends countries to use HIV self-testing as a gateway to diagnosis based on evidence that people who are at higher risk and not testing in clinical setting are more likely to be tested if they access the kits. Kenya launched the self-test HIV kits in 2017, sold at Sh500, but can be accessed in public facilities at subsidised rates. Head of National Aids and STI Control Programme Catherine Ngugi said since its launch, the uptake has been good, especially in public facilities. “The uptake now stands at 26 per cent. In the private sector, the challenge has been the cost,” said Dr Ngugi.
SEE ALSO :WHO seeks Sh140m for flood-hit SomaliaStart treatment The kit has, in itself, contacts that if the test turns positive, one can reach out and be guided on how to start treatment. “The organisation also recommends social network-based HIV testing to reach key populations, who are at high risk but have less access to services. These include men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender population and people in prisons,” reads the guidelines in part. WHO also wants countries to use peer-led, innovative digital communications such as short messages and videos to increase uptake of HIV testing. Other recommendations are focused community efforts to deliver rapid testing through lay providers for relevant countries in the European, south-east Asian, western Pacific and eastern Mediterranean regions.
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