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Govt to roll out 10 thousand kits for HIV self-test

Govt to roll out 10 thousand kits for HIV self-test
Dr. Harriet Akello Pasquale, The Director of HIV -AIDS & STI diseases at the Ministry of Health in South Sudan

The Ministry of Health has announced the introduction of new kits for testing HIV- AIDS (HIVST) in the country known as” Ora Quick HIV Self-Test.”

Official says the country has received ten thousand self-testing used in the national capital, Juba, and more will be made available soon.

According to the health professional, HIV Self Testing is a process in which a person can do oral fluid or blood testing and interpret the result either alone or with a trusted partner.

The Director of HIV -AIDS & STI diseases, Dr. Harriet Akello Pasquale, says the testing rate for HIV is very low in the country.

She says the kits come in a package that will give sufficient information about HIV status, and it will help the government improve access to testing for the virus and reduce stigma.

“HIV Self Testing is one of the key modalities that we use to improve our coverage in HIV Testing. The Self Testing will be made available, especially in private sectors, and the focus is to target the population at high risk of getting an infection,” she said.

Dr. Akello says the testing will start in Juba next month before extending it to other states, and the kits will be given out free of charge.

“Yes, the HIV testing kits will be accessed by individuals from health facilities or drugs store. You test at home and interpret the result. It has instruction on how you can test alone.”

She said the Ministry of Health and its partners would do community engagement and training health workers to enroll the HIV Self-Testing.

Akello further said 2.3 Million kits was distributed for Eastern and Southern African countries in 2018 that raising HIV testing by 28 percent amongst people who had never previously been tested.

At least 2.1% of the population is infected with HIV-AIDS, with a higher prevalence in Western Equatoria and Lakes states in South Sudan.

The lowest prevalence is in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile states.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health has launched a new guideline to tackle sexually transmitted diseases infection “Triple Elimination Initiative of mother to child transmission of HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B” diseases.