Home HIV tests now available

By Jessica Anne Wood

According to reports, 4,500 pharmacies around South Africa are authorised to sell home HIV testing kits at around R35.
 
These home HIV testing kits were authorised for sale by pharmacies in May 2015 following the removal of a ban which had previously prohibited it.
 
The price for these test kits is not clear, but Amos Masango, Registrar and CEO of the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) revealed that the cost will depend largely on the supplier to the pharmacies. However, a recent report claimed that the kits are available from as little as R35. By comparison, two online providers list the cost of a home HIV testing kit at R119, in addition to being charged a delivery fee.
 
The test
 
When using a home HIV testing kit it is important to make sure that you follow the instructions laid out by the manufacturer, emphasised the SAPC. Furthermore, the SAPC noted that pharmacists should be able to advise people on how to use the kits.
 
When asked about the accuracy of the results, the SAPC said: “Pharmacists are obliged by the professional code to only supply medical material, equipment and medicines that is reputable and has all the necessary approvals and registrations. In other words a pharmacist may not sell test kits which in their professional opinion does not meet with the standards of approval in South Africa, be it approval by the South African Bureau of Standards, the Medicine Control Council or any other authority concerned with quality.”
 
Pharmacists are also obliged to advise people on a course of action to take should the test come back positive. “The pharmacist as a health professional will advise the patient accordingly during the selling process. The Pharmacy Council has designed a standard for the performance of HIV tests in pharmacies,” added the SAPC.

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