Kenya will implement a three-test HIV testing algorithm to streamline ongoing efforts to combat the virus.
After receiving a preliminary report from a technical taskforce on the acceptance of the procedure, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the field tests will be piloted in select counties ahead of national rollout.
“I congratulate and thank the members of the task force for showing professionalism in carrying out the assignment and for adhering to the recommendations of the WHO,” said the health CS. According to Kagwe, this is the first time the country has conducted a review of a testing algorithm in strict accordance with a scientific process defined in a protocol recommended by the WHO and approved by an Ethics Review Committee and the National Commission on Science and Technology and Innovation .
During the ceremony, Acting Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth that the taskforce’s recommendations will be implemented according to protocol and later adopted as the country’s testing algorithm.
The chair of the task force, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, who is also deputy chief of the Preventive and Promotional Health Directorate, said there was ample evidence that the two-test algorithm for HIV testing in the country was not optimal. He said the WHO recommended a switch to the 3-test algorithm for countries with HIV prevalence below 5%, with Kenya at 4.3%.
The task force was tasked with reviewing the performance reports of the current HIV testing algorithm and the available evidence to adapt the three-test algorithm to the WHO recommendation. It was also required to contextualize the adaptation process, implementation and feasibility of the three-test algorithm before submitting its report to the Director General of Health.
Adoption of the three-test HIV testing algorithm comes just a week after the Department of Health released revised National Guidelines for the Treatment and Prevention of HIV. The eleven-strong task force, constituted in March 2022, consisted of government officials, technical partners and research scientists.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Kenya.
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