The WHO recently issued new guidelines for HIV diagnosis in hopes of offering more people testing and possible treatment. How do you see Nigeria implementing this?
HIV testing remains the gateway to an effective nationwide control of HIV. Testing enables a person to know his status thereby helping the person to stay negative or alternatively to seek for treatment.
Nigeria remains at the bottom of the table for uptake of testing services in Africa at about 10% of the population taking up these crucial services. This is compared to Malawi with a 70% uptake. The new focus is on getting testing out to the communities and also improving the quality of testing to prevent misdiagnosis.
Implementing the new policy in Nigeria would entail greater government funding to train staff and procure kits, but most importantly there should be put in place a robust sensitization of the populace to drive up demand.
Involving People Living with HIV (PLA) is key to the success of this community component as that is the surest way to reduce stigma which is the main impediment to uptake of HTS services.