On Wednesday July, 2023, Ghana launched its new HIV self-testing (HIVST) program in Accra.
This innovative approach aims to encourage individuals to know their HIV status, making it easier and more convenient for people to get tested for the virus. HIV self-testing Kit launched With more than 350,000 people living with HIV in Ghana, it is crucial to increase awareness and ensure that a larger percentage of the population knows their status.
According to the Ghana AIDS Commission, only about 71% of individuals living with HIV in the country are aware of their status. This means that the remaining 29% unknowingly pose a significant risk of spreading the virus. This problem is not unique to Ghana, as globally, it is estimated that only around 70% of people living with HIV are aware of their status.
Experts have welcomed the introduction of HIVST as a potential game-changer in scaling up HIV testing services. This method allows individuals to test themselves at home using kits similar to those used for malaria or pregnancy tests. The results are known within 20 minutes, providing a convenient and confidential testing experience. Several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, among others, have already implemented HIVST initiatives.
OraQuick HIVST – How it works
Mr. Joseph Oerson, the Sales Manager for the producers of OraQuick HIVST, demonstrated how the test kits work. The oral HIVST involves swabbing the upper and lower gums with an oral swab test stick and dipping it in a test tube solution. The results can be interpreted within 20 minutes. If a single line appears on the test stick, it indicates a negative result. If two lines appear, it shows a reactive result, and further confirmation at a health facility is necessary. It is important for users to follow certain guidelines, such as avoiding eating, drinking, or using oral products before taking the test.
Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo, the Programme Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, mentioned that Ghana has begun implementing HIVST to support a Key Population (KP)-led approach and accelerate progress towards the 95-95-95 goals. HIVST serves as a triage test to supplement routine tests conducted by trained service providers. A reactive HIVST result must be confirmed by conducting three different tests in series before declaring a person HIV positive.
Minister of Health – HIV self-testing Kit launched
The Minister for Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, encouraged all Ghanaians to support the nationwide deployment of HIV self-testing kits. He urged individuals to take advantage of this opportunity and get tested. By working together, we can reduce the number of new infections, ensure access to treatment for all who need it, and strive towards an HIV-free generation.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu emphasized the importance of promoting a culture of compassion, understanding, and non-discrimination towards individuals living with HIV and AIDS. He urged key stakeholders to create an environment where these individuals are embraced rather than stigmatized. Unity and solidarity will be crucial in overcoming this challenge and making a lasting impact on the lives of our people. This aligns with Ghana’s vision of a nation where every citizen can enjoy good health and well-being for national development.
Availability of Test Kits
The government remains committed to ensuring the availability of HIV test kits in health facilities and communities to facilitate testing for all individuals living with HIV. In 2021 alone, the government has procured nearly $10 million worth of HIV test kits. Efforts to support HIV testing in the country have also been bolstered by the Global Fund, which has provided over $9 million for the procurement of HIV test kits in 2023.
The HIV self-testing program, operating under the theme ”
Test Yourself: Know Your Status,”
was coordinated by the National Planning Committee (NPC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Global Fund led by GHANET. This collaborative effort aims to reach more individuals and ensure that everyone has access to HIV testing services.
The introduction of HIV self-testing in Ghana is a significant step towards a safer and healthier future. By empowering individuals to take control of their own health and know their HIV status, we can reduce transmission rates and provide timely treatment and support to those in need. Let us embrace this opportunity and work together to create an HIV-free generation. With unity and compassion, we can achieve our vision of a Ghana where everyone can enjoy good health and well-being.
Can I Buy HIV Test Kit in Pharmacy in Ghana
HIV self-test kits are now available at pharmacies and health facilities across the country for purchase to enable people to self-test to know their HIV status. More to be sent throughout the country soon.
Free HIV test kit
HIV Testing is free in Ghana but using the self testing Kit, you need to purchase it at a fee from a health facility or Pharmacy Shop
HIV Test Kit Jumia
You can always check Jumia or other online shops to purchase one. Be guided are fake ones will also be in the system. Always buy from authorized dealers.