Posts tagged: HIV testing

First In-Home HIV Test To Hit Retail Stores In the US

Recently the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the very first over the counter HIV test kit that allows individuals to test themselves in the comfort of their own homes.1 Would that not make you more inclined to take the test?  This is important because people will no longer have to make the effort to schedule a doctor’s appointment and be able to take the test in the comfort of their own home.

The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is the first rapid diagnostics test for any infectious disease and works by detecting the antibodies that are part of the human HIV virus1.  You must simply take an oral swab and place it in the vial that is provided in the kit.  Within 20 to 40 minutes, you will have your results1.  If your results happen to be positive it doesn’t mean that you are definitely infected with the HIV.  Clinical studies have shown that “the kit is expected to show one false positive out of every 50,000 results and one false negative out of every 12 results.”  The over the counter test was not meant to replace medical testing but simply to provide another way for people to find out their HIV statuses virus. If you do test positive using this in-home test, it is recommended that you see your doctor to verify the results.1

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Canada Piloting Controversial Program To Eliminate HIV/AIDS

Once again, we’re after the one percent. But this time, it’s to help them out; the British Columbia Ministry of Health in Canada has just launched a massive four year, $48 million program in the hopes of eradicating HIV/AIDS – by means of detecting and treating the disease faster than ever.  In the spirit of leaving no stone unturned, this pilot program aims to test everyone in the province who has ever been sexually active.

Routine tests in hospitals throughout B.C. have shown that one percent are unaware of being HIV-positive, having no outward signs of infection. These people are the targets of B.C.’s revolutionary program. As Reta Gustafson, Medical Director of Communicable Disease Control for Vancouver Coastal Health, puts it matter-of-factly, “If you have HIV and don’t know it, you can’t do anything [to get treated].” Discovery of such cases, if progress is to be made, cannot rely solely on fluke. It is with this in mind that a new HIV antibody test is being implemented. The test requires but a single drop of blood from a person’s fingertip, and yields results in 30 seconds. Developed in Vancouver, it has been dubbed “A very important new step” in the worldwide fight against HIV by Dr. Julio Montaner, director of B.C.’s Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

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Men: A New Force in the Fight Against Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

It might sound a little out of sync, but the active participation of men in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS has been found to produce amazing results. A study done in Kenya has shown that if men are involved in the reproductive health with their partners, vertical transmission of HIV and the infant mortality that follows can be reduced by up to 40%1. How this is so can only be understood by considering the fact that in Africa, the male partner is considered to be the head of the family and has absolute say on everything that concerns his family, including matters of sexual reproduction.

Many men feel that as long as they are married having to get tested for HIV is either totally useless, or an insult towards their spouses, and hence themselves, because it implies that the woman has loose morals. They therefore hesitate, if not outright refuse, to entertain any questions of their wives going in to have an HIV test. The importance of this decision occurs when we consider the fact that in order for a mother to prevent the transmission of the disease to her child, she needs to be diagnosed early enough to start the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) regimen. Read more »

National HIV Testing Day Is June 27th

On Monday, June 27th, the U.S. observes National HIV Testing Day, a day which encourages HIV testing and early detection of HIV/AIDS. This year’s event comes at an important time as we mark 30 years since the first reported diagnosis of what would later be known as AIDS.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV, and of those, approximately one in five are unaware they have the virus.1  These 230,000 people are responsible for transmitting more than half of the 56,000 HIV infections that occur annually.2 This is why testing is so important.  In 2006, the CDC recommended that a one-time HIV test become routine for all persons between ages 13 and 64, and that those with high-risk behavior such as intravenous drug use and multiple sexual partners be tested annually. Sadly, these recommendations are not followed comprehensively, and too few people are being screened.

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