The Ogun State Government has unveiled the first HIV self-test kits that will afford every individual the opportunity of doing Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test in the comfort and privacy of their homes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had in June 2013 issued consolidated guidelines on the use of Anti-retroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection which summarizes diverse models of testing and counselling services to increase access to HIV diagnosis.
The kits were unveiled by the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun in commemoration of the 2020 World AIDS Day with the theme: “United to End AIDS in the midst of Covid-19” in Abeokuta.
Speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker described the HIV self-testing as a process whereby a person who wants to know his or her HIV status collects a specimen, performs a test, and interprets the test result in private.
Coker noted that one HIV self-testing does not provide a definitive diagnosis, saying that it is a screening test for the presence of HIV-1/2 antibodies or HIV1 p24 antigen.
She said Ogun State is the first in the country to launch the HIV self-test kit, pointing out that the likes of Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have done the same in Africa.
“HIV self-testing shares many characteristics with current HIV testing and counselling approaches, including products, accuracy issues, linkage to care, potential benefits and risks and regulatory policies and frameworks,” she said.
She assured that the present administration in Ogun State will not relent in pulling its weight towards fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS, while the provision of Anti-retroviral drugs (ART) for people living with HIV in the State will not be taken with levity.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary/Project Manager, Ogun State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Kehinde Fatungase commended the apolitical approach of governor Dapo Abiodun-led government, noting that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the government did not reduce its commitment to testing and counselling people living with HIV/AIDS.
In his goodwill message, the Coordinator, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN), Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Tayo Akinpelu said his organization was proud to identify with Ogun State, considering its giant strides in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS within the four walls of the state.