KAMPALA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's ministry of health has launched oral rapid HIV self-testing kits, a move aimed at increasing testing rates as part of efforts to stem new infections in the country, a senior official said on Saturday.
Diana Atwine, permanent secretary at the ministry of health, told Xinhua by telephone that the initiative is aimed at enabling more Ugandans to know their virus HIV status.
The current prevalence of HIV among people aged 15-49 years in the east African country stands at 6 percent, according to the 2016 Uganda Population HIV Impact Assessment.
"We (ministry of health) have officially launched the HIV self-test kit. The kits will be available for free in our (public) health facilities and on sale in private pharmacies," said Atwine.
With the kit, people can use oral fluid or blood-finger-pricks to test in a private and convenient setting. Results will be shown within 20 to 40 minutes.
In 2017, World Health Organization and United Nations AIDS recommended HIV self-testing, as an additional option for people to test and know their status.
Evidence from many countries has shown that HIV self-testing is highly acceptable and can reach people who may not otherwise test, including young people aged 15-24 years.
Uganda has been using the health provider or client-initiated HIV counselling and testing model recommended by the country's national HIV strategy.