Recent statistics from the Uganda Aids Commission reveal that Uganda has seen 52,000 new HIV infections in the current year. With Fort Portal and Mbarara cities leading in HIV/AIDS prevalence, particularly among teenage girls and older men, there’s growing concern about the progress toward the goal of ending HIV by 2030.
The Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV) remains a significant global public health threat, especially in Uganda, where the prevalence rate is 5.8% among the 15-49 age group. Prevention strategies such as treatment as prevention, safer sex, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are considered essential, but accessible testing is a critical component often overlooked.
Despite progress in enhancing access to HIV services, HIV testing among young people in Uganda falls below the target. Adolescents, especially those aged 10-19, constitute a growing proportion of people living with HIV globally, emphasizing the need for increased awareness and testing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended HIV self-testing (HIVST) as an innovative strategy to address the testing gap and reach UNAIDS targets to end HIV by 2030. HIVST, facilitated by oral self-testing kits, offers a private, non-invasive, and convenient method for individuals to determine their HIV status.
Research shows that in 2019, an estimated 480 million HIV tests were conducted globally, yet 19% of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) remain undiagnosed. Oral self-testing kits, such as the OraQuick HIV self-testing kit, contribute significantly to early detection and timely interventions in the fight against HIV.
By eliminating the need for blood samples, oral test kits reduce barriers to testing, encourage more people to take control of their health, and align with global efforts to achieve the UNAIDS 95–95–95 target. The simplicity and accessibility of oral test kits make them instrumental in promoting HIV testing, overcoming barriers, and contributing to global efforts to control and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
As World AIDS Day was marked on December 1, experts emphasize the importance of exploring new and innovative approaches to make oral HIV self-testing kits more readily available, affordable, and accessible. This, they believe, will play a pivotal role in achieving the goal of ending HIV by 2030.