Saturday October 20, 2018

UK startup rolls out first ever HIV self-test kit

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Want to get rid of the usual brouhaha and scathing stares while entering a clinic for HIV test? Well, here is an option – the first ever HIV self-testing kit.

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Despite heading to a new era etched with modernity and advancement, there are certain issues which are never deliberated openly and people prefer to shove them inside the closet. One such issue is HIV. The very thought of appearing for a HIV test vexes us owing to the repercussions involved, specially societal issues. However, this wouldn’t be the case anymore as U.K. based startup BioSURE has rolled out the first HIV self-testing kit.

The self-testing kit allows individuals to test their blood samples and subsequently execute a test for AIDS.

The device guarantees 99.7% accuracy, which means that out of every 1000 positive results only three would be incorrect. The device is the only one having a legal approval in U.K. with a European Conformity (CE) mark.

The BioSURE HIV Self Test Kit is priced at £29.95 (US$46.80) and would be shipped in discrete packages.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is an infective microorganism that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The self-test would enable an individual to detect the presence of such antibodies when a person is infected with HIV.

Despite a string of advancements made in laying off the disease, the stigma regarding the same still persists, owing to which many people consider it a strenuous task to go to clinics for a test. However, the newfound kit would be a stress buster, removing the possibilities of being looked down on.

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Individual Types of HPV Linked to HIV Infection

Previous study with female sex workers showed that the HPV vaccine still provided protection to high-risk groups

Nearly 40 individual HPV types linked to HIV infection. Pixabay

Scientists have for the first time identified 37 individual types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, that are specifically linked to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

The findings showed that a person with any HPV type, more than one HPV type, or high-risk HPV are more likely to test positive for HIV.

“Although most studies have shown a general link between HPV and HIV co-infection, our findings illustrate the strong relationship between individual HPV types and HIV infection,” said lead author Brandon Brown, Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside.

“Some HPV types are more linked to cancer and others to warts. This further illustrates the potential utility of HPV vaccine for men who have sex with men and trans women, not only for HPV prevention but also possibly for HIV prevention,” Brown added.

Brown explained that previous research has shown that HPV, in general, was linked to HIV infection, but his research team looked at infection with 37 HPV types and found that individual types are linked, “which is more specific than saying HPV is linked”.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, identified HPV types such as HPV16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 52, 58, linked to HIV.

For the study, the team investigated nearly 600 men who have sex with men, or MSM, and transgender women in Lima, Peru.

School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Brown and his colleagues started with two groups, one with genital warts and one without, and followed participants over two years to see who contracted HIV.

Of the 571 participants who completed at least two study visits, 73 acquired HIV in two years — a 6 per cent HIV incidence rate.

Previous study with female sex workers showed that the HPV vaccine still provided protection to high-risk groups.

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Regarding prevention and treatment, Brown recommends the HPV vaccine, widely provided to everyone regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation before sexual debut, and for genital wart treatment.

“Even if the vaccine is not provided before sexual debut, there can be strong benefit if given at any time to prevent HPV-associated disease and also HIV,” he said.

“We know that HPV is the most common STI, and we know that HPV vaccine works to prevent chronic HPV infection. What we need now is to implement the vaccine in a better way. The availability in many other developing countries is low at best and absent at worst.” (IANS)

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