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WHO Releases New HIV Self-Testing Guidelines Ahead Of World AIDS Day

30 November 2016, 10:51 am EST By Saranya Palanisamy Tech Times
The WHO has released new guidelines for HIV self-testing ahead of World AIDS Day. People can use finger-prick tests or their oral fluid to check their HIV status in private settings.  ( Jonathan Leibson | Getty Images for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation )

The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines for HIV self-testing ahead of World AIDS Day observed on Dec. 1 every year.

Antiretroviral Therapy For HIV

It is noted that millions of people around the world infected with HIV don't get the antiretroviral therapy (ART) to manage the disease because of lack of diagnosis. About 18 million people worldwide are currently under ART and it is estimated that around the same number of people infected with HIV are still unaware of their infection.

Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO noted that millions of infected individuals are yet to get the HIV therapy, which could prevent the potential spread of infection to healthy people — given that HIV-self testing kit would be of great help in guiding people toward life-saving treatment and prevention services.

About 14 million people, which accounts to 40 percent of the world's population, are unaware of their HIV status and tens of thousands of people at risk of HIV are missing out therapies because of lack of access to HIV testing kits.

HIV Self-Testing Kit New Guidelines

The new guidelines released lately are aimed at promoting HIV self-testing and guiding people on partner notification services. As per the guidelines, people can now use finger-prick test or their oral fluid to check their HIV status in private settings and get the result in just 20 minutes.

People who test positive to HIV during the HIV self-test are then advised to take up confirmation tests. Individuals who are confirmed to be HIV positive are recommended to receive counseling and are then guided toward life-saving treatment, prevention and care services.

It is reported that the HIV awareness status among people worldwide rose from 12 to 60 percent between 2005 and 2015, which has led to the diagnosis and treatment of 80 percent of HIV infected individuals. Of this number, only 30 percent of them are men, which shows that the testing rate remains low in men especially those who have had sex with other men, transgender people, sex-workers, drug users and prisoners.

HIV Self-Testing For People Worldwide

The WHO is providing the HIV self-testing kit for free or at affordable prices for people to have an easy access of the test kits. Furthermore, #HIVprevention campaign is being launched by the WHO on account of World AIDS Day to create HIV awareness among adolescent girls and young women who are at increased risk of infection, reported the UN in a press release.

"By offering HIV self-testing, we can empower people to find out their own HIV status and also to notify their partners and encourage them to get tested as well," said Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of WHO's Department of HIV.

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