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Nigerians will soon be able to ascertain their HIV status from the comfort of their homes, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said.

Mr Adewole, on Friday in Abuja, approved a new HIV self-testing kit called Alere HIV Combo (AHC) Rapid Test Kit, which can be used by an individual in the comfort of their homes.

The kit will provide accurate results in 20 minutes and can be run using blood gotten by pricking a finger or serum/plasma.

Mr Adewole said the kit is a new addition to the already existing laboratory and hospital modes of confirming HIV status within the country.

Test kit

Speaking on the evaluation of the self-test kit, the chairman of the test team, Ali Onoja, said rapid test kit evaluation is considered a critical aspect in the quality of test results.

He said at present, the available rapid test kits can only detect HIV infection after the window period.

The HIV window period is the time between potential exposure to HIV infection and the point when the test will give an accurate result.

This is usually a time frame of four weeks from the time of exposure.

During the window period, a person can be infected with HIV and be very infectious, but still test HIV negative.

Mr Onoja, however, said the manufacturers of Alere HIV Combo, however, claim the test kit ”detects both antibodies and the P24 (window period) antigen in the whole plasma or serum.”

“In addition to laboratory performance, characteristics like sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the test kit were evaluated to determine if the AHC can detect early infections that are antibody-negative by discovering the P24 antigens.

“The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of AHC were 99.7 per cent, 98.7 per cent and 99.5 per cent respectively.”

Culled from Premiumtimes

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