Kenyatta University and OraQuick HIV Self- Test have today partnered to host a HIV Self- Test awareness camp as the world prepares to hold World Aids Day on December 1st.
The awareness camp is part of the University’s initiatives to drive the HIV prevention agenda with 42% of new adult infections being among the youth. The Awareness camp was held at Kenyatta University main campus where over one thousand students were trained on how to use the OraQuick HIV Self- Test Kit.
Present during the self-testing camp was Kenyatta University Director of Wellness and Rehabilitation Services Dr. Tabitha Wang’eri, National Aids and STI Control Program Head of HIV and STI Prevention Unit Dr. Jonah Onentiah and OraQuick HIV Self-Test Distributor for Kenya Mr. Derrick Anjiwa.
OraQuick HIV Self-Test is the only oral HIV self-testing kit that is readily available in the Kenyan market. OraQuick HIV Self- Test that is an oral fluid test detects antibodies for both HIV-1 and HIV-2, enabling individuals to find out their HIV status with a simple oral swab in as little as 20 minutes.
The simplicity of the self-testing kit makes it ideal for testing in a range of locations, including in the privacy of one’s home, at the pharmacy, or at community-based testing events like the one hosted at Kenyatta University. The OraQuick Self-Test kit is manufactured by Orasure Technologies INC.
Dr. Tabitha Wang’eri said, “The youth are our future therefore we must make sure that we help them make responsible life decisions. One of these decisions is knowing one’s HIV status and in line with this year’s World AIDs Day theme- End inequalities, End pandemic, End AIDs; We are happy to partner with Orasure Technologies Inc. today for this drive and we hope to educate and create awareness for HIV Self-testing for those who feel uncomfortable getting tested at a VCT facility.” She further added, “The HIV prevalence amongst the youth has increased and as educators we must be at the fore-front of the fight against HIV and Aids. That fight starts with knowing one’s status and we encourage all our students at Kenyatta University to know their status”.
Health is a priority in Kenya’s development agenda. Kenya’s Vision 2030 outline youth, and especially young women at the center of the country’s development agenda. The Government has made many investments in the HIV response that has seen HIV prevalence reduce by half in the last decade, antiretroviral treatment scaled up to more than 800,000 and age of sexual debut increase from 14 to 16 years.
“42% of new HIV infections in Kenya are youth and adolescents, some are afraid to go to health facilities or VCT centers to know their status and that is why we are pushing for HIV self-testing. We cannot preach the gospel of knowing one’s status enough because the more people know their status the more we reduce the spread of HIV and Aids. Young people please know your status” said Dr. Jonah Onentiah of NASCOP. He further went on to add “We are delighted when institutions of learning like Kenyatta University take the initiative to support us in driving the HIV testing Agenda. We are also delighted by brands like OraQuick Self-Test because of making it easier to know one’s test through the self- testing kits”.
The OraQuick HIV Self-Test Awareness drive started at 9 am to 5 pm in some of the Kenyatta University classrooms where the students had an opportunity to interact with the OraQuick HIV Self-Test kit as well as ask questions in relation to HIV and Aids testing. In total over 1000 kits were distributed to the students at the university during the OraQuick HIV Self-Test awareness camp. The students also interacted with Peer Counselors provided by the Kenyatta University Directorate of Wellness and Rehabilitation services. Those who wanted to test at the site were allowed to while those that wanted to test in the privacy of their hostel were allowed to with access to a toll free line for any needed counselling. In addition to the 1000 OraQuick HIV Self-Test Kits that were distributed, Orasure Technologies INC has also stationed two automatic vending machines where students can access the OraQuick HIV Self-Test Kit for free.
The OraQuick Self- Test is available at local pharmacies for 250 Kenya Shillings. The test is also available on e-commerce platforms such as Kasha and MyDawa.