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Is a start pack test kit sufficient?

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th October 2009 03:00 AM

IT is good that you are sensitising all pregnant women whom you come in contact with to test for HIV. Your example should be emulated by all health care providers, especially midwives, if we are to stop HIV in children through mother-to-child transmission

IT is good that you are sensitising all pregnant women whom you come in contact with to test for HIV. Your example should be emulated by all health care providers, especially midwives, if we are to stop HIV in children through mother-to-child transmission

Face HIV with Dr Watiti

Dear doctor,
As a private midwife, I am in contact with many pregnant mothers who seek services from my clinic. I routinely talk to them about the importance of HIV testing. However, I only have a start pack test kit which I use to test for HIV. When they test negative, we leave it at that, but when they test HIV-positive, we refer them for a confirmatory test else where. How credible is the test because I have been told that one needs at least two tests to confirm their HIV status.
Kate

Dear Kate,
IT is good that you are sensitising all pregnant women whom you come in contact with to test for HIV. Your example should be emulated by all health care providers, especially midwives, if we are to stop HIV in children through mother-to-child transmission.

While testing for HIV, we follow protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health. What you are doing is screening using a very sensitive test which is not specific for HIV.

So although what you are doing is good, you need to get all the test kits so that you are able to conclusively test these mothers at the same place as some may be lost during the process of referral.

All people who test HIV-positive should be tested using a second test which is less sensitive but more specific for HIV and only those who test positive for both should be confirmed HIV-positive.

You should, therefore, seek to be trained on using all the test kits available so that you are able to help your clients more efficiently. Lastly, encourage all women whom you test to bring their husbands or sexual partners for testing regardless of their HIV status.

It is possible for a pregnant woman to test HIV-negative while her partner is HIV positive and if they continue having unprotected sex, she could get infected and even pass the virus on to her baby.

Is a start pack test kit sufficient?

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