World AIDS Day 2016 and the importance of Self-Testing

Written by John Kelly, CEO at Atomo Diagnostics:

On 1st December 1988, people from around the world united for the first ever Global Health day in the fight against HIV.
World AIDS Day has remained a vitally important day in the calendar every year since…

HIV remains one of the most destructive pandemics in history, having claimed the lives of more than 35 million people. Over the decades, HIV treatment, international collaboration and national laws have progressed significantly to care for and protect people living with HIV. There is still much to be done to improve education, awareness, and early diagnosis – particularly as stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people in communities around the world.

At Atomo we believe passionately that innovation in diagnostics is key to improving global health outcomes. We developed the first integrated blood-based professional use rapid diagnostic test (RDT), AtomoRapidTM HIV, to improve safety, usability and accuracy of testing.

For the last few years we have been working hard, with the support of key opinion leaders and frontline healthcare professionals, to create an easy-to-use HIV test device suitable for self-testing by lay users. This will be supported with simple-to-follow pictorial user instructions and how-to videos to make testing even easier and more accessible.

Self-testing is increasingly recognised for its potential to positively impact HIV detection rates. HIV self-testing (HIVST) enables individuals to test themselves in private. The greater convenience and discretion offered by HIVST means it can have an important role to play in reaching previously undiagnosed, hard-to-reach and at-risk groups; helping to achieve the first ’90’ of the ambitious UNAIDS 90-90-90 target, to have 90% of people living with HIV diagnosed by 2020.

As further recognition of our commitment to usability, we have received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new and innovative technologies to make self-testing even easier and further minimise the possibility of user errors.

Every day the Atomo team is united in its mission to enable effective and early diagnosis and so help prevent the spread of HIV – and on 1st December 2016, we’ll again be supporting the ethos and aims of World AIDS Day…