Friday, May 24, 2024

Devolution of blood based HIV self testing kits around the corner

Blood based HIV Self Testing kits could soon be available at privately owned pharmacies.

Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Research Care and Training Program (KEMRI/RCTP) are analyzing data that could give green light to this move.

Benn Kwach, the Study Coordinator of the ‘Effect of pharmacy-delivered PrEP services on reach and access in Kenya focusing on HIV Self-Test performance’ said the study was carried in 20 private pharmacies in Kisumu County.

Over the six-month study period, we wanted to see how blood based self-testing performed against the standard of care, as usually done at the health facilities that offer HTS services

Benn Kwach

Kwach said the study allowed clients to self-test for HIV, followed by the standard NASCOP test procedure done by a trained HIV Test Service (HTS) counselor.

“Over the six-month study period, we wanted to see how blood based self-testing performed against the standard of care, as usually done at the health facilities that offer HTS services,” said Kwach.

The life changing study

At least 1, 500 adult clients seeking HIV testing services participated in the study done with 40 providers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 issued new guidelines including the use of Self Testing for HIV.

The first 90 per cent target is to ensure that 90 per cent of diagnosis of HIV positive people. The others are that 90 per cent of those are on medication and that 90 per cent of those on medication achieve viral suppression

Kwach

The move was aimed at helping meet the first 90 per cent target of the 90-90-90 targets.

“The first 90 per cent target is to ensure that 90 per cent of diagnosis of HIV positive people. The others are that 90 per cent of those are on medication and that 90 per cent of those on medication achieve viral suppression,” he said.

The study whose results are set to be released in the next few months, aims to measure the percentage of the HIVST attributable misinterpretation by the service provider.

The findings will support the use of the blood based HIVST as a diagnostic tool in models of pharmacy-based PrEP delivery.

KEMRI’s Prof Elizabeth Bukusi is the Principal Investigator for the study.

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