By Laura Cenge
As the world marks World Aids Day celebrations, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has taken a step ahead by working together with Human Diagnostics Uganda Limited to sensitize students on how to prevent the spread of HIV. The event follows this year’s theme, “Know Your Status,” with celebrations of the day in Rukungiri.
Speaking to Joel Mukiibi, the Sales and Marketing Manager, he said that they chose to come in to sensitize students on the benefits of carrying out the HIV test once in a while. This is attributed to it being the stage in which they are sexually active and are prone to infection. For this reason, they came along with the self-testing kit “Ora Quick” for HIV.
“You just swab your gum, and after twenty minutes, you will have your results,” Joel said.
As of December 2021, the Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) showed that there were 54000 new infections, those living with HIV were at 1400000, and there were 17000 annual AIDS-related deaths. This has raised the bar for sensitizing them to their HIV status in order for them to live healthy lives.
Joel added that the drive has pushed them through Makerere, given that these are some of the areas that house the youth “who take a long time to go for HIV testing,” hence extending the courtesy to UCU.
“We found it good to bring HIV testing closer to them and free of charge,” said Joel.
It was also noted that the oral swab test stick is painless since it does not require one to get pricked with a needle or have a blood sample extracted.
These test kits are free at all government-established health centers and cost Shs25,000 in private hospitals.
According to Mark Walusimbi, the outgoing MP for the School of Law, he appreciated the efforts that the university is putting in to sensitize the students on living a healthy life.
“This is a good initiative; students should be well informed about their health, which enables them to live in a healthy environment,” he said.
What you need to know about the Ora-Quick HIV self-test
Ora-Quick is an oral fluid test for HIV/AIDS that was introduced in Uganda in 2017. However, there is scarce knowledge about the product. The product is used orally and can be done in the comfort of home, a hostel, or wherever one feels comfortable.
Usage of the test kit is done by swabbing the upper and lower gums and then inserting the swab into the test tube, where the oral fluid mixes with the liquid for testing, which travels up the test stick to give a final result.
In twenty minutes, if you get one C-line, that means you are negative. If you get the T-line, that translates to one being positive, and if there is no line, then the test is invalid.
The product is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uganda, and distribution is done by Human Diagnostics Uganda Limited.
Human Diagnostics Uganda Limited is a company that imports and exports medical products to the country. The team does the inspection of the product, approves it, and then sends it to the National Medical Stores (NMS), where it is later sent to pharmacies and health centers.