Lillian Mworeko, the Executive Director of an NGO – International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA) says that for the method to be put to good use, there needs to be a mechanism that provides all the necessary information from how to use it to for instance on how to deal with a positive result.
Experts are worried that the population may not be fully prepared
on how to deal with a positive HIV result as the country rolls out the oral HIV
Lillian Mworeko, the Executive Director of an NGO – International
Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA) says that for the
method to be put to good use, there needs to be a mechanism that provides all
the necessary information from how to use it to for instance on how to deal with
a positive result.
/// Cue in: “If somebody has …
Cue out: …and discriminated against”. //
She said with stigmatization is still a major issue in HIV, people using the
device should be fully aware in order to make informed decisions about how they
get tested and what happens after they get to know of their result.
/// Cue in: “We are struggling ……
Cue out: ….. HIV positive results”. //
She notes that self-testing takes away an important strand in HIV care which
involves use of professionals and conducting counselling which have been
helping some of those who test positive to come to terms with their status as
they are immediately given clues on how to access care.
With the kit, Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the Programme Manager AIDs Control Programme
at the Ministry of Health says one is supposed to do a confirmatory test at a
health facility especially when they test positive and the beauty with it he
says it will make it easy for individuals to do regular repeat testing.
Musinguzi explains that in order to get more people to know their
status and reduce new infections, there needs to be a mix of ways to get people
to choose what works for them.
He adds that the oral self HIV test kit is mainly targeted for men who are
often reluctant to seek care because they are usually turned off by queues at
Musinguzi says that the method has been given a nod after study
done by Makerere University School of Public Health confirmed its acceptability
by the population.
While the government is still in the process of supplying the kit to hospitals
so it can be accessed free of charge, on the market, it goes at a price between
20,000 and 30,000 shillings and the results can be attained in about 20
The kit works by collecting fluid from the gum by swabbing and thereafter what
is collected is inserted in a testing solution. A few minutes after being
placed in the solution, the kit will start showing lines and if one line
appears, it means one is HIV negative. If it shows two lines then one will have
tested positive and therefore require a follow-up test at a health facility.
In studies, the OraQuick test which was also the first self-testing device to
be approved by the World Health Organization has proved to be highly acceptable
The Makerere University School of Public Health Study, for
instance, showed that 7 out of the 10 men involved confessed knowing their
status by use of the kit.
However, according to statistics by the Uganda AIDS Commission, only 55% of men
and boys living with HIV know their status, compared to 82% of women and girls.