Updated 09 March 2016

Home HIV testing kits must only be used for screening

Take-home HIV testing kits, which was banned for sale until recently, should only be used for screenings and a diagnosis of HIV can only be made following a second test analysis.


Do-it-yourself HIV tests, which are available in some pharmacies for about R35, should only be used for screenings, cautioned Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He was briefing the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday on the government's HIV/Aids plans.

Read: Home HIV testing gets the green light

The South African Pharmacy Council quietly removed the ban on pharmacist sales of HIV self-testing kits in May 2015. The decision comes almost one year after the council gazetted a draft plan to remove the ban.

"The Department of Health has not commenced with self-testing for HIV," Ramaposa said.

"It is critical to highlight that these kits are to be used only for screening, and those who screen positive must go to a health facility to have the confirmatory test done."

He said a diagnoses of HIV can only be done once the second test, analysed by the relevant laboratory is also done.

The deputy president pointed out that the Pharmacy Council is still finalising a standard operating procedure to ensure that pharmacies provide appropriate information for use of these kits.

"We encourage members of the public to use the services of the Department of Health’s call centre should they have any questions about the use of the kits or interpretation of results."
Ramaposa said the government urged all South Africans who are sexually active to test for HIV regularly.

Also read:

How goats’ milk is changing the lives of HIV positive children

Male circumcision: You still need to use a condom

Police and gangsters are abusing HIV positive drug users


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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