[op-ed snap] HIV: The self-test option

  1. Context: WHO releasing guidelines on HIV self-testing
  2. A major obstacle in improving access to diagnosis has been cleared
  3. Across the world, nearly 40% people with HIV are unaware of their infection and run the risk of unknowingly transmitting it
  4. Advantage: will prevent new infections, early diagnosis will help in a prompt start to treatment and enable the infected to live longer and healthier
  5. Indian scenario: Though there has been a 66% drop in incidence in 2015 compared with 2000, the number of new HIV infections last year was 86,000
  6. Government’s role: approved the proposal to take HIV testing closer to those in need by starting community-based testing
  7. OraQuick: WHO-approved HIV self-testing, based on HIV antibodies present in oral and blood samples
  8. The test can detect antibodies developed within three months of getting infected
  9. Screening test, and a positive result is reconfirmed though a blood-based test
  10. It makes diagnosis easier and faster, besides ensuring privacy and confidentiality


  1. The National AIDS Control Organization, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in 1999
  2. World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988.
  3. World AIDS Day is one of the 8 official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO, along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day.

Theme for 2016 AIDS day: “Hands up for #HIVprevention” and 2015 AIDS day: “On the fast track to end AIDS”


OraQuick is an important step in fight against HIV, therefore, is important from Prelims point of view. Questions like theme of World’s AIDS day are often asked by UPSC.

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