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HIV self-testing should be the new norm

July 28, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

MASERU - PSI Lesotho, with the support of the Ministry of Health believes that with the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for Basotho to continue to access various HIV/ AIDS services and to know their status whilst still maintaining recommended standards and behaviours of social distancing in order to minimise the risk of the spread of the corona virus.

With the generosity of UNITAID, PSI Lesotho and the Ministry of Health have been involved in a multi-year, regional programme, Self-Testing Africa Initiative (STAR), which encourages and provides kits for individuals to screen themselves for HIV, using portable self-test kits that can be used anywhere by the client as they wish.

Speaking on the importance of self-testing, PSI Lesotho’s programme director Dr Cyril Nkomo said in the 19 years of PSI operating in Lesotho towards the improvement of the health of Basotho, they have committed remarkable resources with the generosity of various donors and partners to ensure that all Basotho know their status, get on ART and remain on long term treatment.

Dr Nkomo said HIV self-test strategy and product, allows them to achieve this even more effectively, with individuals being able to get a self-test kit for free, test in their own  privacy or with a trusted person and start to enjoy the importance of knowing their HIV status as well as getting on treatment if need be.

He said in these days of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more important for people to make use of the self-test tool, as all are encouraged to maintain strict physical distancing.

He said that means their work as PSI Lesotho in the communities, of testing people in mobile sites work has stopped for the time being. He, however, showed that it is still imperative that people get to find out their status and immediately get treatment if they need to.

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HIV self-test kits are distributed in partnership with the Ministry of Health and can be accessed free of charge at all major government health facilities as well as PSI’s new start sites across various districts in the country. With the corona virus seemingly affecting those with compromised immune systems with much greater intensity, PSI Lesotho strongly urges Basotho to make use of the HIV selftest product, so that if need be, they get initiated on treatment as soon as possible and boost their immune system to give themselves a fighting chance against the opportunistic pandemic.

PSI Lesotho also urges Basotho to remain faithful and compliant with all national guidelines regarding prevention of the spread of Covid-19. It also appeals to them to access the HIV self-test kits at facilities.

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