The Pharmacy Council of South Africa has approved that pharmacists can now sell take-home HIV testing kits, according to the council’s Registrar and CEO Amos Masango.

The significant development will give people who wish to take a home test the choice to use reliable and validated kits, which conform to the country’s set importation standards.

According to Health 24, the council is set to release a set of minimum standards to assure the quality of HIV self-tests but until such a time, “Pharmacists are in a position to sell these kits at this point in time,” Masango said.

Know your HIV status Photo: Flickr Jon Rawlinson

Know your HIV status Photo: Flickr Jon Rawlinson

However, an unintended consequence of the take-home HIV testing is that the test is taken without the person being offered professional counselling, which health professionals fear could have a negative impact and cause unnecessary anxiety.

Despite these concerns, the approval of self-testing could provide an opportunity for early diagnosis, in a country with a high rate of HIV infection.

According to reports, “South Africa has the biggest and most high profile HIV epidemic in the world, with an estimated 6.3 million people living with HIV in 2013. In the same year, there were 330,000 new infections”.

Source: Health 24