National AIDS/STI Control Programme has pre-launched HIV self-test kits

Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo

The National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP) has pre-launched a pragmatic national campaign focusing on HIV Self-Testing as a weapon to empower Ghanaians to know their status.

The HIV Self-Test Kits pack contains an instruction manual for use written in both English and Twi, a test device, a preservative, a developer vial, and a test stand.

The instruction manual also has simply 11 steps to follow with graphic pictures to guide the individual to self-administer without the help of any other person.

Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo, NACP Programmes Manager and Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager jointly pre-launched the national campaign in Tema.

Dr. Ayisi Addo said the instructions for use also contain details on how to interpret the results, focusing on Positive Results, Negative Results, Invalid Results, Not Sure of Results, and also how to dispose of the test kits after usage.

He said the national campaign would be launched next year, but the pre-launch was to galvanize the citizenry to patronise the HIV self-test kits.

Speaking at the pre-launch event at the Ghana News Agency Tema Industrial News Hub Boardroom DialoguePlatform Dr. Ayisi Addo, urged the public to break barriers and know their status with the use of HIV self-test kits which would be available at selected pharmacy shops across the country.

He said self-testing has come to empower Ghanaians to take control over their HIV status “knowing your status is powerful but walking in the dark is dangerous”.

Dr. Ayisi Addo said the test kits had been made available in some designated pharmacies as part of efforts to control national HIV infections.

He explained that the results of the self-testing were not final saying “if you are reactive, you must go to a health facility and we will confirm it for you”.

Demonstrating the use of the HIV self-test kit process with the staff of Ghana News Agency Tema who voluntarily agreed to participate, Dr. Ayisi Addo advised the public to read the instructions thoroughly and follow suit and visit the nearest health facility for clarification or treatment.

He said the initiative had been programmed in a way that the health facilities would collate data for positive cases as people who test positive still needed to report to a facility for confirmation and treatment.

He said the self-testing was private and required only consulting the health specialist for advice and noted that the phase of HIV had changed because there was treatment.

Mr. Ameyibor called on the media to join the campaign to stimulate self-testing and also upscale the fight against HIV and AIDS stigmatization and discrimination.

He said that even though progress has been made in promoting knowledge of HIV large number of the population was still unaware of their status, thus underscoring the urgency of closing the testing gap.

He said late diagnosis of HIV infection was the most substantial barrier to scaling up HIV treatment and reducing new infection rates and commended the National AIDS/STI Control Programme and other stakeholders for embarking on the self-testing campaign.

Source: GNA

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