The Federal Ministry of Health has recommended Insti HIV 1/2 and Insti Multiplex Dual HIV1/2 and Syphilis antibody rapid tests kits as a first line kit in the national HIV testing algorithm.
National Coordinator of the National AIDS, STI and Hepatitis Control Programme, Segilola Araoye, said this while speaking during the dissemination of the report on the laboratory evaluation of the tests kits, yesterday in Abuja,
He said the result of the evaluation showed that Insti HIV1/2 has specificity and sensitivity of 99.7% respectively while Insti multiplex HIV 1/2 Syphilis antibody has sensitivity and specificity of 100% respectively.
Specificity is the ability of a test to correctly exclude individuals who do not have a given disease or disorder while Sensitivity is the ability of a test to correctly identify people who have a given disease or disorder.
Araoye said that at one time in the country, several uncontrolled HIV tests especially rapid test kits were used without any regard for quality, or following appropriate testing strategy thus increasing the possibility of misdiagnosis of HIV infection.
"The Federal Ministry of Health considered this unacceptable and thus embarked on appropriate evaluation of HIV (rapid) test kits," he said.
He said that Nigeria has conducted some rounds of evaluation of HIV rapid test kits using the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for appropriate evaluation of HIV testing technologies in Africa, adding that three phases of evaluation were recommended.
He said that for interventions for the control of the HIV epidemic to be effective, early and accurate diagnosis of HIV was important through the use of reliable HIV tests and appropriate testing strategies.
Manason, Rubainu, Chairman Technical Committee for Evaluation of HIV Testing Technologies, NASCP said that the test kits met the requirements for first line testing of HIV and syphilis and could test for both diseases at the same time.
He said during the laboratory evaluation of the test kits, the reagents for syphilis did not interfere with testing for HIV and the reagents for HIV testing did not interfere with that of syphilis.
He said that the evaluation team faced challenges with getting samples of syphilis because of the low prevalence in the country and they had to get samples from Nigeria and other countries.