New HIV testing tools launched

HARARE - United States of America medical company, Hologic Inc has launched new HIV diagnosis tools in Zimbabwe which makes it quicker and easier for laboratories to diagnose and monitor HIV infections in the country.

 In a statement Hologic Inc said the new tool known as Aptima HIV-1 Quant will have two functions that will help the country intensify its fight against HIV.

“Aptima will be used for early infant diagnosis to qualitatively detect HIV infected infants below 18 months.

“Secondly, it will enable the testing of dried blood spots to monitor viral load and disease progression in HIV-infected individuals.

“In line with the 90-90-90 goals from UNAids, this high performance, accessible and flexible test will help governments and NGOs scale up the fight against a virus that continues to infect over 3 000 people daily in sub-Saharan Africa with 1,7 million children and adolescents (0-19 years) already infected,” the medical company said.

While more people are becoming aware of their HIV status, several factors such as inadequate testing infrastructure and lack of access to laboratories continue to impede this progress are among them.

However, Hologic Inc said the region continues to make significant efforts towards meeting the 90-90-90 goals.

East and Southern Africa are reportedly the homes to the largest number of HIV infected people in the world, with 19,6 million people living with the virus.

“Between 2010 and 2016, new HIV infections among children (aged 0-14) declined by 56 percent, while new infections among adults declined by 29 percent.

“Access to accurate testing is the first step in ending the spread of HIV,’ the statement read.

This comes as the country has been hailed for posting successes in reducing transmission of the virus from mothers to babies.

The UN programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) placed Zimbabwe on number three out of 23 focus countries in the sub region frantically moving to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child.

HIV testing has been compulsory for pregnant women in Zimbabwe registering for antenatal care in public hospitals as part of government’s prevention of mother to child programme.

A UN report said antiretroviral therapy for the prevention of mother to child transmission greatly reduced new HIV infections among children and said many new child infections have been averted.

Early infant diagnosis is essential to improve prevention and treatment interventions, as peak mortality occurs between six weeks to four months of age for children who have acquired HIV infection.

Zimbabwe’s infant mortality declined from 64 deaths per 1 000 children in 2012 to 52 deaths in 2017. HIV reportedly accounts for 21 percent of all child mortality deat

    

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