You can use this USB stick to know your HIV status: Read how test is conducted

The National AIDS Control Council recently released Kenya County profile book in which it reports on the HIV situation in all counties in Kenya.

According to the report Kenya has an average HIV prevalence rate of 6 percent and with about 1.6 million people living with HIV infection, it is one of the six HIV ‘high burden’ countries in Africa.

Although still in the early stages, scientists in Britain have devised an easy-to-use disposable test tool that could help patients manage their condition more effectively – in a similar way to diabetes patients checking their blood sugar levels.

The new technology monitors the amount of the virus in the bloodstream – a figure crucial to a patient’s treatment.

The device, which uses a mobile phone chip, needs a small sample of blood, which is placed on a spot on the USB stick.

If the virus is present in the sample, this triggers a change in acidity which the chip then transforms into an electrical signal.

Research on the device, published in Scientific Reports, found that the handy USB stick tested almost 1,000 blood samples with an impressive 95 per cent accuracy.

And the average time to produce a result was just 20.8 minutes.

The findings can then produce the result in a programme on a computer or electronic device.

Currently, HIV tests are majorly conducted by counselors in public and private health facilities across the country.

It will take time (undisclosed) before the USB HIV test kits are availed for use in Kenya.

The current treatment for HIV, called anti-retroviral treatment, reduces virus levels to near zero.


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