FG announces new test kit for HIV in bid to curb spread of virus

FG announces new test kit for HIV in bid to curb spread of virus

In its effort to ensure that the spread of the HIV virus is drastically reduced, the Federal Government has approved the inclusion of ”Wondfo HIV I and II rapid test kits for use in the country.

The National Coordinator, National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NASCP), Dr Akudo Ikpeazu, made this known while presenting the evaluation report on the HIV kit, on Tuesday, September 8, in Abuja.

“The Wondfo rapid test kit could be used as a confirmatory test because of its high specification of 99.4 per cent,” she said.

The coordinator said that in 2019, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) approved the conduct of the laboratory performance evaluation of the Wondfo HIV I and II rapid test kit.

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“The result of the evaluation which was conducted at the reference testing laboratory Public Health in Vitro Diagnostic Laboratory, Lagos” showed that Wondfo rapid test kit sensitivity, was 99.5 percent and its specificity was 99.4 per cent.

“Also, the rapid test kit has an accuracy of 99.4 percent with positive and negative predictive values of the kit; to the Gold Standard as 99.3 per cent and 99.5 per cent respectively.

“These results met the requirements for the kit to be included in the first-line screening test of the HIV testing algorithm in Nigeria,” she explained.

She disclosed that Nigeria had conducted some rounds of evaluation of HIV rapid test kits; using the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for appropriate evaluation of HIV testing technologies in Africa; where three phases of the evaluation were recommended.

She noted that these phases were, laboratory-based; field-based; and also continuous monitoring of the performance of the algorithm.

Ikpeazu said that the National HIV testing algorithms were developed from these rounds of an evaluation conducted; and all the test kits were also antibody-based kits.

“HIV testing is the fulcrum of any HIV programme as it establishes the individual’s HIV status; which then determines the subsequent package of prevention or treatment services that will benefit that individual.

“A person who tests negative is counseled on how to stay negative; while a person that tests positive is immediately linked to Anti-Retroviral Therapy(ART) services; and so the importance of providing accurate; and reliable diagnosis devoid of false negatives or false positives results cannot be overemphasised,” she explained.

In his speech, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu, appreciated the national evaluation team for the successful completion of the process.

Aliyu said that the agency was using all strategies; available to increase hematocrit (HCT) uptake in the country.

He, however, said that it was important to make sure that a lot of people got tested; and be placed on treatment immediately; noting that testing remained the gateway for HIV treatment and care services.

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