A company has developed a quick oral HIV test that promises 90% accuracy in just under 20 minutes. The product is conveniently named OraQuick and can be bought for a price of $ 60. The kit resembles a pregnancy test; it also functions pretty much in the same way:
Make a quick swab over your upper and lower gums and wait 20 minutes. One line next to the letter C means negative; if another line next to the letter T also appears then you’re positive. The product has also been approved by the United States’ FDA.
But promises the most benefit in African countries, similar to the southeast state Malawi. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine along with the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust and College of Medicine has been training individuals on how to use the kit and giving out those kits for free. So far, there have been 8000 OraQuick tests conducted in Malawi. The researchers think the best aspect offer by this test is that it is easy to use, saves time, and saves the individual from embarrassment.
Campaigns, counseling, and testing haven’t proved so beneficial against HIV/AIDS in Malawi. The people remain afraid of going to health clinics and testing as they would be stigmatized once health officials confirm their status. As a result, many HIV positive mothers go to clinics to give birth only to be diagnosed then.
Researchers estimate that 2 million people of the 14 million Malawians have HIV/AIDS, with a majority not being properly tested or treated. When questioned further about the reasons they continuously refuse to get tested despite it being available, Malawians complain about how humiliating it is for them to be seen getting tested; people directly assume that the person tested is “promiscuous”. This is especially bad for women as they feel that they lose their privacy.
For these reasons, specialists are optimistic about OraQuick; however, they warn the users to act on the received results. They must go to a proper health clinic and confirm the positive results via finger-prick blood test.