Mylan, a leading global pharmaceutical company in Ireland, has today launched a new over-the-counter HIV self-testing kit that can detect the presence of the virus in the blood.
HIV diagnoses in Ireland have increased significantly in the last decade – up 43.9% from 2006 to 2016 – according to HPSC data.
Commenting, Owen McKeon, Country Manager, Mylan Ireland, said:
“Ireland becomes our fourth market to launch in, following already successful launches in France, Italy and Spain.
“Over the coming months, we will be working with HIV patient organisations to increase awareness of the importance of early testing, and how tools like our self-testing kit, as well as taking a proactive approach to your health, can help in the fight against the spread of HIV.”
The kit, autotest VIH®, is a medical device for home use, allowing those who want to self-test to do so quickly and discreetly.
Each HIV self-test kit comes with an information leaflet on how to use the test correctly and contact information for GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health and HIV) helpline. In the case of an HIV positive result, users are advised to attend a full sexual health screening with their healthcare professional.
Users are advised to wait three months from the point of potential exposure to HIV and testing. This window period is the time it takes for the body to produce antibodies that signal the presence of HIV.
The self-test kit is designed to detect HIV antibodies, but not other sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
Those people living with HIV, but who are not aware of their status, could be unknowingly transmitting it to others – a reality that Mylan hopes to change.
HIV diagnoses in Ireland have increased within the last decade, particularly since 2011. There were 508 new diagnoses of HIV in Ireland in 2016, representing a 43.9% increase since 2006. These latest HSE HPSC figures show that the infection predominantly afflicts men, with 48% of new diagnoses reflecting those aged 20-34 years old and 41% in the age range 35-49 years.
Ann Mason, Manager of GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health, and HIV), said:
“8,341 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Ireland since the early 1980s. Today, HIV is a treatable infection and the sooner someone living with HIV accesses treatment, the sooner the medication will reduce their viral load to undetectable.
“Whether you are HIV negative, positive or have never been tested, there are channels to discuss it. It is also important to encourage people to openly discuss their HIV Status with their sexual partner.
“With discreet and easy-to-use tools like the Mylan self-test kit and with helplines like GOSHH to support their use, we hope to see more people avail of testing, an increased ability to manage symptoms early on, and ultimately, a decline in HIV diagnoses.”
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