News / Health

    Self-Testing Might Help Curb Spread of HIV

    In this undated handout photo provided by Orasure, a model demonstrates the OraQuick test, which detects the presence of HIV in saliva collected using a mouth swab. The test is designed to return a result within 20 to 40 minutes.
    In this undated handout photo provided by Orasure, a model demonstrates the OraQuick test, which detects the presence of HIV in saliva collected using a mouth swab. The test is designed to return a result within 20 to 40 minutes.
    Art Chimes
    Scientists have found that self-tests are generally accurate and could be an important tool in the fight against HIV.
     
    A new review finds that self-testing kits for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are  accepted by users. But they caution it’s still unclear whether self-testing will actually reduce the spread of AIDS.

    Most HIV testing is done in a doctor’s office or at a clinic, where saliva or blood samples are taken and analyzed by trained medical technicians. But home testing kits have been approved or are under consideration in a handful of countries, including the U.S., Singapore, Kenya, and Malawi.

    Dr. Nitika Pant Pai, of McGill University in Montréal, Canada, combined the results of 21 prior studies of HIV self-testing in what’s known as a systematic review.

    She found there was widespread acceptance of self-testing. “People really wanted to. They accepted self-test, and they wanted to complete the self-test.”

    Testing in a health-care facility has certain disadvantages. It could take more time, it might cost more, and it risks embarrassment and social stigma.

    Self-testing may be more private, but it also has disadvantages. The test kits are made to be easy to use, but they involve taking a saliva or blood sample and carefully following instructions.

    Pant Pai said an accurate result depends on following the procedure exactly. And that’s sometimes a problem.

    "You know, it always helps to simplify instructions and give instructions ahead of time. And the instructions have to be tailored to the literacy levels of the population.”

    The self-test kits are generally very accurate, especially when the test is done with some sort of expert supervision. However, these tests typically look for antibodies - the body’s defense against the HIV invader - rather than the virus itself. And because those antibodies don’t show up immediately after infection, there is a window of time when the test will come back negative.

    “But if a person tests himself at 90 days, then the probability of getting a positive results, and a positive result really being a positive result, is really high, which is in the 99-100 percent range,” Pant Pai said.

    Only one of the 21 studies Pant Pai examined looked at whether people who tested positive sought counseling, but in that study, 96 percent did. She says there is still a lack of data on whether the use of self-tests actually reduces the spread of HIV. “No, there isn’t any. The data on that is really limited, and those are the next steps that we need to take.”

    Many of the studies of HIV self-testing asked participants how much they would pay for a self-test kit. The answers varied, but clustered around $10. Some were willing to pay more. In a study in Kenya, participants, who were health care professionals, generally thought the tests should be free.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.