Wed, Apr 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Program offering kits for HIV self-testing extended

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A woman at a news conference organized by the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei yesterday holds an OralQuick in-home HIV test kit in front of logos of convenience stores where pre-ordered kits can be picked up.

Photo: CNA

The Centers for Diseases Control’s launch last year of a trial program for HIV home testing was well received, so the centers yesterday said it would continue the project this year and the test kits would be available to pick up at convenience stores.

The program, launched in September last year, allows people to purchase a testing kit for NT$200 at nine health bureaus and service stations across the nation.

A total of 4,812 test kits were applied for within the three-month trial period and more than 2,200 people registered their results at the centers’ Web site, including 25 who tested positive, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said, adding that 40 percent of those who posted said it was their first HIV test.

“The program will be expanded to 19 counties and cities across the nation this year,” Lo said. “We also worked with three major convenience store chains — FamilyMart, OK Mart and Hi-Life — so people can apply for a home testing kit online, pay a fee of NT$245 and pick a kit up from convenience stores.”

People would also be able to purchase testing kits at four nongovernmental organizations, 278 service stations and 24 vending machines for NT$200, or pay an additional NT$45 for postage to receive them at designated convenience stores.

“The rapid oral HIV test is more than 99 percent accurate, a rate equivalent to that of a hospital test, but people who have tested positive via the oral test should still go to a hospital to confirm their diagnosis,” Lo said, adding that the rapid tests give results in about 15 to 20 minutes if used properly.

The centers estimated that about one quarter of Taiwanese who have HIV still do not know they are infected, so the centers is expanding its efforts to provide easy access to the tests, in a bid to reduce that to less than 10 percent, he said.

People do not have to provide personal information to purchase test kits or register their results, he said.

Information about acquiring kits can be found at: http://hiva.cdc.gov.tw/oraltest.

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