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30 November 2020, 16:55

Belarus to change HIV testing algorithm

MINSK, 30 November (BelTA) – Belarus has plans to alter the HIV testing algorithm, Vyacheslav Grankov, Program Coordinator for Communicable Diseases of the WHO Country Office in Belarus, told reporters, BelTA has learned.

“We are considering amendments to the current testing algorithm in order to reduce the turnaround time. A working group has been put together. I hope that a new testing algorithm will be introduced in our country in 2021,” Vyacheslav Grankov said.

He explained that today three HIV tests need to be done in order to establish the diagnosis. It is very important to diagnose the disease as quickly as possible. One can use rapid tests for this. In line with WHO recommendations, treatment should begin on the day when the diagnosis is established, and if a patient needs additional examination, then within seven days.

“All people who have been diagnosed with HIV need to receive treatment, since this will not only give them the opportunity to live a long and healthy life, but will also reduce the risk of transmission. If a person is effectively treated, he/she will not sexually transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners. This is a major achievement of modern antiretroviral therapy,” he said.

By the way, Belarus was one of the first European countries to introduce broad access to HIV self-testing. A test kit can be purchased at a pharmacy and the test can be done at home. This is especially important now, amidst the pandemic, when people often avoid visiting healthcare facilities and try to maintain social distance.

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