HIV-AIDS: Federal Government Approved New Test Kits

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The Nigerian Government has approved the use of “Wondfo HIV I and II rapid test kit” for the use in the country as a measure to arrest the spread of the viral disease.
Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu, The National Coordinator, National AIDS/STD Control Programme (NASCP) disclosed this yesterday in Abuja while making a presentation on the evaluation report on the said kit. She said, “The Wondfo rapid test kit, could be used as a confirmatory test because of its high specification of 99.4 percent,”

She further explained that in 2019, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) approved the conduct of the Laboratory performance evaluation of the Wondfo HIV I and II rapid taste kit.

According to the coordinator, the result of the evaluation which was conducted at the reference testing laboratory Public Health in Vitro Diagnostic Laboratory in Lagos proves that Wonfo's rapid taste kit sensitivity was as much as 99.5 percent while its specificity showed 99.4 percent.

Ikpeazu said, “The rapid test kit has an accuracy of 99.4 percent with positive and negative predictive values of the kit to the Gold Standard as 99.3 percent and 99.5 percent respectively.

“These results met the requirements for the kit to be included in the first-line screening test of the HIV testing algorithm in Nigeria,” she explained.

She revealed that after conducting some rounds of taste in the country, the HIV rapid taste kits while adhering to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for appropriate evaluation of the HIV technology in Africa, about three phases of the evaluation were recommended.

Noting that these phases were, laboratory-based, field-based over time with continuous monitoring of the performance.

She disclosed that all the evaluation conducted and the taste kits were antibody-based kits.

She explained, “HIV testing is the fulcrum of any HIV program as it establishes the individual’s HIV status which then determines the subsequent package of prevention or treatment services that will benefit that individual.

“A person who tests negative is counseled on how to stay negative, while a person that tests positive is immediately linked to Anti-Retroviral Therapy(ART) services and so the importance of providing accurate and reliable diagnosis devoid of false negatives or false positives results cannot be overemphasized,”

In his remarks, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) applauded the national evaluation team for the successful completion of the process.

Aliyu noted that the agency was using all strategies at their disposal to increase hematocrit (HCT) uptake in the country.

He explained, “Provider Initiative HCT strategy is being introduced to most government-funded hospitals to ensure that all patients that come into health facility have access to HCT services at no cost,” while advocating for more testing across the country.

“We have to address the gap between the target and where we are as a nation. We are at 73 percent in our testing and we still need to do more,” Aliyu said.