World AIDS Day 2017: Self-testing key to improving early diagnosis of HIV

Written by CEO, John Kelly:

As I read the news, on this World AIDS Day, I am heartened to see so many positive and inspiring stories about the progress being made in communities around the world in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS.  Nonetheless, it is clear that even greater strides are needed in terms of HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published an article highlighting the problem of late diagnosis and the need for diversifying HIV testing approaches.  It notes how in Europe, ‘One in two people living with HIV are diagnosed late in the course of their infection. So late, that two out of three people with AIDS in the EU/EEA receive their diagnosis within only three months of discovering they had HIV. According to ECDC estimates, on average it takes a person about three years from the time of HIV infection until they are diagnosed – which is far too long.

Enabling early detection of HIV is critical if Europe is to tackle its persistent HIV epidemic, and a valuable strategy to increase access and uptake of HIV testing is self-testing.  Moreover, HIV self-testing is increasingly seen as an essential means of supporting the global health community to achieve the goals of the 90-90-90 initiative

So today I am especially proud of my team at Atomo for having developed and secured CE approval for the Atomo HIV Self Test.  The product will be launching in Europe soon, meaning that people who have hitherto been reluctant or unable to get tested will now be able to do so in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

World AIDS Day reminds us that there is still much do to tackle HIV/AIDS, but it is also a day to celebrate all that has been achieved thus far.  As such, I will today be thanking my team for its commitment to reimagining diagnostics, and for developing self-test products that will play their part in supporting early diagnosis of HIV.