Monday, October 8, 2012

Rapid HIV Oral Test available for sale Over the Counter

AFAID's Club Against AIDS in Mbalmayo, Cameroon

People will now be able to find out whether they are HIV positive or not, right in the comfort of their houses; currently, there is a home testing kit also known as The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test available in the over-the-counter market. Consumers can purchase it for about $40. 

This FDA-approved rapid diagnostic test can detect the presence of antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in fluid collected from the user’s gums and cheeks. The availability of this testing kit through retailers and other online stores will impact the consumer in a positive and negative way. Obviously, it may damagingly influence some people who are tested negative by providing them with a premature sense of confidence that could lead to activities that put them at risk for HIV and other STDs infections. But as the FDA stressed, as stated by HealthPop report, the benefits of using this oral test device overshadow the negatives. 

First of all the detection is crucial for prevention in a way that it helps slow the spread of the disease. In August, the journal of AIDS and Behavior has published a study, involving 27 gay men who frequently had sex with strangers without using condoms, which found that tis rapid self-testing undoubtedly prevented some infections.

Second, because it is pain-free, does not need needles and blood, and can be performed in the confidentiality of non-traditional testing environments, this test will attract more people to get screened and help patients who are tested positive to be connected to care as soon as possible. 

Many people are, in fact, not aware of their HIV status and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that these unaware people cause a little more than two third of new infections each year and that 75 percent of the ones tested positive will change risky behaviors once they are aware of their status. 

Furthermore, people will use this OraQuick In-Home HIV Test to screen their potential sexual partners, making this test more popular and leading HIV trends to the bottom. Some studies suggest that a considerable number of HIV-positive people keep their status secret most of the time; this allows them to continually infect unsuspected partners. About 2800 men and women from OraSure Technologies’ clinical trials also said they would use the test as HIV screening tool.   

To perform this test, the user gently swipes the test swab on his or her cheeks and gums to collect an oral fluid called oral mucosal transudate, as this test does not use saliva.  After that, (s) he inserts the swab into the tube that comes with the testing kit and wait for the result in less than 40 minutes.  

This oral test works just like HIV Blood tests because the fluid collected is similar to the one use in blood testing. The test is done to detect HIV’s antibodies, not for the virus itself. The test is expected to have some weaknesses. In its approval announcement, the 17-member FDA panel stressed that the test is not as precise as a lab-administered one. It is practically 100 percent accurate when it shows that an individual does not have the virus that causes AIDS. 

When it comes to the one who does, its accuracy is only about 93 percent. According to HealthPop, Rita Chappelle, a FDA spokesperson also highlighted the necessity of following step by step instructions for accurate result when testing at home. Chappelle also drew attention to the importance of following up with a medical setting confirmation despite the test high accuracy rate. For, some people can take up to six months to develop the level of antibodies associated with HIV that the test can detect; event though the majority of affected people reach that threshold within three months.  

So being tested positive does not, in definitive, mean that person is infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in health care settings. A negative result when exposure has being within the previous three months also requires professional medical attention. Anyway, regular retesting is recommended for people who often engage in at-risk behavior.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Maternal mortality

A recent join United Nations report indicated that the new maternal mortality is declining. Obviously, global data suggests that progress has been made to reduce the number of pregnant women who die while giving birth around the world; however, in sub-Saharan Africa, the hardest hit region in the world, maternity deaths remain a huge concern. As a matter of fact, people in sub-Saharan countries of Africa have witnessed more than 280,000 of those deaths in 2010 only. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), that number represents 57 percent of the world maternal deaths. These high figures suggest that 17 percent of all women in Africa are at risk of dying from complication of pregnancy and childbirth. 

Cameroon, Chad, and Congo are among several sub-Saharan countries in which maternal and infant mortality rate is still lamentably high. For instance, Yearly mothers’ deaths in Cameroon rose from 7500 in 2004 to 9000 in 2010, according to figures released by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).

The situation seems to be worse than the UN data shows as persistent under-reporting and misclassification have made it impossible to know the true extent of such deaths, especially in remotest and poorest areas. African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) is deeply troubled by the senseless deaths of mothers in Africa because most of these deaths could have been prevented. Indeed, the high number of maternal deaths in Africa is the direct result of insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery, the lack of money to pay the fees being asked for by medical personnel, and incapacity to reach health facilities because of geographical, financial or cultural barriers. Most importantly, HIV infections claim 10 percent of those lives. Evidences show that of the 91% of world maternal deaths due to HIV/AIDS occur in sub-Saharan Africa because, among other causes, women lack information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

An urgent action is needed as more than 1 million children in Africa alone are orphaned because the mother dies trying to procreate.  Please get involved, click here to donate.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 Mother’s day in Africa

On the second Sunday of May in the US and the last Sunday of May in Europe, the world observes Mother’s day by celebrating the crucial role that mothers play in the society as a whole. This holiday has its roots in the US in 1914. In fact, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s day official when he signed it into law during the First World War. The desire to repopulate Europe urged European countries to adopt the Mother’s day holiday.   

African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) uses this day to remember all mothers and pregnant women who live with HIV as well as those affected by AIDS.  This Mother’s day, Sunday May 13, 2012, AFAID invites you to join the organization in the celebration of this day by donating in honor of those most vulnerable mothers who have shown unconditional love to their children throughout their lives. A donation of $20 or more can stop the transmission of HIV from mother to child, feed an AIDS orphan for a month, and help keep mothers alive to care for their children.  You can make your donation online at,,, or by mail at AFAID, 1325 G St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Club parades in Mbalmayo, Cameroon

On February 11, 2012 Cameroonian youth celebrated the 46th National Youth Day in Cameroon. In the city of Mbalmayo, African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) participated in the parade through its AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Club created and implemented in Mbalmayo Technical High School located in the city of Mbalmayo, Cameroon. Following the celebration, members of the club distributed HIV/AIDS awareness documents.