The Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA) has said it would introduce self-testing kits to reduce prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr. Isah-Shedua Baka disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna.
He said, though the HIV prevalence rate in the state was 1.1 and below zero in some local government areas, the introduction of the self-test kit would further reduce the prevalence levels.
“During last year’s World HIV/AIDS celebration, we conducted test for 1,000 people at the event which confirmed it has dropped, because out of the 1,000 less than 10 were found to be positive.
“That is why we are introducing HIV self-testing, where a person collects his or her own specimen and then performs an HIV test and interprets the result in a private setting, either alone or with someone he or she trusts.”
Baka said the introduction of the self-test kits would also reduce the number of people afraid to go to hospital for testing.
“HIV self-test is a first step towards HIV treatment and prevention and a healthy life.
“With the self-test kits, it allows you test yourself and choose where you want to take medication.
“It is estimated that only 79% of people living with HIV know their HIV status. We are looking for ways to rapidly increase uptake of HIV testing services.”
According to him, the self-test kit has convenience, privacy and is easy to use.
He added that the agency has begun discussion with NACA on acquiring HIV testing machines in the state to ease movement and delay in getting test results.
“We have only one testing machine and it is located at ABU Teaching Hospital Zaria, the one in Saye was burnt in a fire incident and all tests are now taken to Zaria, which is demanding and tasking.
“We hope with the appeal we are making, we will be able to get one or two more machines in the state but if we don’t, we will configure the Gene expert machine so that we can also begin testing for hepatitis B and C.”