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WHO Releases New HIV Diagnostic Test Kits That Only Costs Less Than $1 to Curb Transmission Rates

HIV Testing
WHO Releases New HIV Diagnostic Test Kits That Only Costs Less Than $1 to Curb Transmission Rates (PHOTO: ANURAKE SINGTO-ON/

The World Health Organization recently announced that it has released new HIV test kits that will stop mother-to-child transmission. This novel test kit only costs less than $1, which is likely due to a new partnership between the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), MedAccess, and SD Biosensor.

HIV/AIDS testing

WHO releases new HIV testing toolkit for pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PHOTO: Eric Gauss/Unitaid)

Adopting to New HIV Testing Algorithms

WHO has recommended a standard HIV testing strategy in 2019 as a response to changing epidemiology. It is composed of three consecutive reactive tests for it to be diagnosed as HIV-positive to make sure that countries are given quality services and move toward and achieve UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.

The revised advice emphasizes the need for dual HIV/syphilis diagnostic tests (RDTs) and the phase-out of older testing, particularly western blotting methods. This guidance was received positively by several countries, especially in WHO African Region where compliance to HIV testing increased from 8% in 2014 to 71% in 2021.

But there are still using the old diagnostic tool that hinders same-day diagnoses and access to ART and PrEP. More so, many places have not yet fully transitioned to the recommended testing strategy or used the dual HIV/syphilis RDTs into testing algorithms for pregnant women.

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Under $1 HIV Test Kit to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission

WHO believes that through the new HIV test kit, countries can accelerate their efforts in fully adopting WHO guidelines and transition to using new testing algorithms for HIV.

In a report shared by The Pink Report News, WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis, and STI Programmes director Meg Doherty said that the new test kit’s pricing is an exciting development as it will help countries to follow the dual HIV/syphilis testing implemented by the UN health agency. But most of all, it will be easier to deliver services to key populations where HIV infections are common.

In Nigeria, the country has already started the test kits for pregnant women and plans to release four million more in 2022 to prevent mother-to-child HIV and syphilis transmission.

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