Ensuring Accuracy: Kenya to Implement WHO’s Three-Test HIV Diagnosis Protocol

Admirably, Kenya has taken a step by adopting the World Health Organization’s recommendation to transition from a two-test to a three-test HIV diagnosis strategy. This simply means a person can only be diagnosed with HIV after three consecutive tests that turn positive.

Furthermore, a negative diagnosis will be given only after three tests. WHO recommends using multiple tests to achieve an accurate HIV diagnosis, defined as fewer than one false-positive per 100 people diagnosed with HIV.

Previously, two positive tests were sufficient to diagnose HIV. However, as the number of people with HIV decreases, the likelihood of false positives increases. This new strategy ensures that HIV diagnoses are as accurate as possible, reducing the risk of misdiagnosis and ensuring individuals receive appropriate care and treatment promptly.

Undeniably, the consequences of providing an incorrect test result are serious. A false-positive diagnosis leads to unnecessary lifelong antiretroviral therapy and social and emotional consequences for clients and their families. In contrast, a false-negative diagnosis means that someone living with HIV will not benefit from ART and could unknowingly transmit HIV to partners and, in the case of pregnant and breastfeeding women, to their infants.

Beginning next month, the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme will implement the three-test algorithm. We hope the fight against HIV will only gain strength, bringing us closer to an AIDS-free generation by 2027.

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