Australia is prepared to market the fists HIV self-test that can be done from home. The device is long-expected as being praised as a very useful tool.
The Kirby Institute presented the results of their study showing that the availability of the self-testing kits has increased the total number of disease assessment among the participants.
The HIV self-test is considered to be valuable for people who do not attend clinics for various reasons, either because of the costs or because of a higher self-confidence in their general health status.
However, the self-test will only be considered as an adjuvant to the current medical HIV screenings.
The product will be available directly to the consumer, and it will still need to obtain the approval of the Australian authorities. A local pharmaceutical company is preparing the clinical trial required for the tests to be allowed on the market.
A European study has shown that the test proved to be 99.8% accurate. They will be available without a prescription and will offer the result in only 15 minutes.
A significant percent of the people who have HIV are diagnosed late, which means that they live with the virus for years and are possibly spreading it without knowing.
The HIV self-test involves a swab of the mouth, as opposed to clinic tests that sometimes include blood tests, have a longer waiting time, and are also more costly. Moreover, gay men who have unprotected sex have to take an HIV test several times during a year, which brings up a lot of inconvenience in terms of schedule and money.
The early treatment could improve the general health of the patient. The treatment and a responsible sexual behavior could make the virus non-infectious and reduce the chances to be passed on to other people.
The gay and bisexual men that had either condomless anal intercourse or had more than five sexual partners in the previous three months are expected to have a higher risk of HIV.
Even if they are recommended to take an HIV every three to six months, a third of the men who are at greater risk for infection test themselves only once a year or not at all.
The HIV testing must be repeated in a six months period because the body needs time to produce the antibodies which are detected through tests. Most of the people develop the antibodies in up to 3 months.
However, in other cases, the process can take six months after the contamination. This means that a person that suspects an infection must repeat the test several times during a year in order to make sure that the results are positive and not related to a delay in body response.
The HIV self-tests are already available in France, US, and the UK.
Image Source: Wikipedia