September 28, 2007

Rapid HIV/AIDS Test road show moves to Bequia

The Rapid HIV Test Road Show moved to the Grenadines this week. On Thursday, the new technology was formally introduced on the island of Bequia.{{more}}

It’s all part of the National AIDS Secretariat’s initiative, aimed at enhancing local efforts to prevent and reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Rapid HIV Test enables an individual to know his or her HIV status within minutes. It determines whether or not there are HIV antibodies in a person’s blood. The twenty- minute rapid test compares to a one-week wait for results, if the test is done at the national laboratory or in the traditional way. The test was first developed in 1990 and gives similar diagnostic performances as the Elisa or traditional method does, and is, therefore, just as reliable.

The test is done by cleaning the finger tip with alcohol and then pricked with a lancet, or needle to get a small drop of blood. Used needles are disposed of and a new one used with every new test conducted. The test can also be done by using a tube of blood that has been drawn from the patient with a syringe. Rapid testing is a reliable, less stressful and more convenient way to learn one’s HIV status.

HIV Testing and Counselling is recognized as a priority in national programmes worldwide, as it forms the gateway to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support. The Rapid HIV Test is viewed as an important technological advance in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The service was formally launched here in Sandy Bay last week, and hundreds of villagers thronged the Sandy Bay clinic to be tested. Some eighty- six persons received Rapid HIV Tests then.