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Việt Nam begins testing HIV through saliva

Update: June, 11/2018 - 09:00
A medical worker from the Mường Lát District Medical Station takes a blood sample for HIV testing at Tam Trung Commune in the central province of Thanh Hóa. An oral HIV quick test method will be launched in Việt Nam soon. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Nam
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Much like home testing kits, the oral HIV quick test method will be launched in Việt Nam for the first time, an official of Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) said.

According to Võ Hải Sơn, head of HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Testing Division under VAAC, the MoH is conducting 80,000 HIV tests through saliva in Hà Nội and HCM City. The test will also be launched in Thái Nguyên Province, Cần Thơ City and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province in the coming time.

The oral HIV self-test showed 99 per cent accuracy in detecting HIV antibodies in high-risk populations, Sơn told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.

High-risk groups include people who inject drugs, homosexual men, and people who engage in unprotected sex.

A US-based HIV testing manufacturer has agreed to sell the kits to Việt Nam for around US$2 per unit, whereas most kits online go for up to $20 per unit, he said.

People at high risk of HIV infection can buy this product and test themselves at home, getting results in as little as 15 minutes.

Much like home pregnancy tests, the oral HIV self-test can only serve as a preliminary method of diagnosis. People who get positive results after quick testing should go to medical facilities to seek the most accurate results, Sơn said.

“Early HIV detection plays an important role in preventing and treating the disease, especially for pregnant women. Early detection of HIV will help the process of treatment and prevention of infections in children," said Sơn.

At the press conference late last week, VAAC warned about increasing HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM).

A recent survey conducted in Hà Nội showed that the HIV infection rate in MSM accounted for 12 per cent of the overall number, Sơn said.

The risk of HIV infection could increase as HIV prevalence among MSM is high, he added.

According to statistics from VAAC, about 200 HIV-infected children are born each year.

“Previously, 500-600 babies were infected with HIV every year from their mothers. It is hoped that this number will drop to 60 babies or less in the future if there are early preventive measures,” said Hoàng Đình Cảnh, deputy head of VAAC. — VNS

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