Metropolitan Health integrates AtomoRapid HIV into HIV YourLife Programme

Metropolitan Health integrates AtomoRapid HIV into HIV YourLife Programme
In corporate South Africa, testing for HIV infection is still considered a contentious issue. However, it is critical for companies to encourage employees to become aware of their status. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest risks that a company faces due to the revenue loss facilitated by absenteeism and a high staff turnover, as well as the costs associated with retaining new staff.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 states that it is the responsibility of the employer to create and maintain, as far as is reasonable, a work environment that is safe and without risk to the workforce. With this top of mind, the Metropolitan Health Risk Management YourLife Programme partnered with Atomo Diagnostics, the developer of the award-winning AtomoRapidTM HIV test, to host a wellness day for nearly 1400 Golden Arrow employees.
AtomoRapidTM HIV recently won‘Best in Show’ at the 17th International Medical Design Excellence awards due to its ease of use, accuracy and reliability. “Our experience with previous rapid tests did not instil the required confidence in the result,” said Siraaj Adams, Executive Manager for Metropolitan Health Risk Management’s HIV YourLife Programme. “Through a due diligence process, a decision was subsequently taken to use AtomoRapidTM HIV as the primary screening test as it had the necessary capabilities.”

For more than nine years, the HIV YourLife Programme has provided companies and employees with HIV/AIDS disease management and care. However, in the past, people have typically only joined the programme once they are already ill (advanced disease). This delay was exacerbated by the associated stigma and concerns relating to confidentiality and the accuracy of the voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) result.

Metropolitan Health Risk Management’s innovative new HIV testing web tool (in conjunction with the AtomoRapid HIVTM test) has simplified diagnosis and improved the link to care after diagnosis. With enrolment rates post HIV diagnosis jumping from below 30% to nearly 80%, diagnosis is now taking place earlier, and those affected are enrolling sooner on HIV disease management programmes.

“Companies must ensure that the rapid diagnostics tests used during wellness events are as accurate as possible. They need to be simple and reliable and remove sources of error,” says Brad Mears, Managing Director of Atomo Africa.

“Bits-in-a-box tests are complex to use which can cause a misinterpretation of results. A significant number of positive infections are routinely missed, which could mislead an HIV positive individual to believe that they are HIV negative. The health and well being of this individual is at risk because they might not take the necessary precautions to prevent the transmission of HIV and additionally, they will not enroll for the necessary care and treatment that they require,” says Mears.

South Africa has reached a mature stage in managing the HIV epidemic. As the country scales up its response to the epidemic, quality of care must not be compromised. According to Mears, the quality of tests in the market place varies greatly and providers and patients need to be educated about what they are using. “A high quality test such as AtomoRapid HIV™ mitigates the likelihood of human error.

“We also need to ensure that patients have a positive experience when testing with additional support structures. We believe our partnership with Metropolitan Health, and the integration of our tests into the HIV YourLife Programme, achieve exactly that,” concludes Mears.

Future expansion of the partnership will be driven through the HIV provider network, that has over 1 000 General Practitioner’s and 150 specialists contracted.


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About Atomo Diagnostics:

Atomo Diagnostics is an Australian based healthcare company with a focus on product development and usability. Atomo develops and commercialises next generation solutions that address unmet user needs in the diagnostic industry.