The INSTI HIV self-test (INSTI) manufactured by Canadian company bioLytical Laboratories will soon be available for the African market after getting the nod from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This comes after the WHO released new guidelines on HIV self-testing to improve access to and uptake of HIV diagnosis.
The INSTI HIV self-test, which yields a greater than 99% accuracy, is the world's fastest HIV test. With just one drop of blood, the assay can detect HIV antibodies two weeks sooner than any other HIV self-testing kit.
bioLytical COO and CFO Livleen Veslemes said the company worked through each part of its supply chain to reduce shipping, procurement, production and distribution costs to introduce this alternative format in response to the immense need for affordable self-testing in Africa.
“The HIV testing landscape is evolving and INSTI is well-suited to be a leader in the self-testing segment owing to its simplicity and ability to provide instant, accurate results two-weeks sooner than all other brands,” she said.
Veslemes said it was part of the company's mission to provide innovative solutions for diagnosis of infectious diseases.
WHO department of HIV director Dr Gottfried Hirnschall added the self-testing could empower people to find out their own HIV status and to notify their partners and also encourage them to get tested.
“Self-testing will be particularly relevant for those people who may find it difficult to access testing in clinical settings and who might prefer self-testing as their method of choice," he said.
Self-testing nearly doubled the frequency of HIV testing among men who had sex with men, and recent studies in Kenya found that male partners of pregnant women had twice the uptake of HIV testing when offered self-testing compared with standard testing.