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Fighting Aids with HIV Test diagnosis by mobile SMS

The role that mobile phones play in our life has changed dramatically over the last few years, as previously they were just used for making and receiving calls but technology has allowed them to have a bigger impact on our day-to-day lives, and today we have news of how some people have been fighting Aids with HIV test diagnosis by mobile SMS.

Mobile technology has been transforming the way HIV test results are being delivered to patients in Africa according to Africa News. Aids is one of the biggest threats affecting Africa due to limited access to antiretroviral treatment and health care. Deaths due to the disease account for almost sixty percent of all deaths annually, while mobile phone use has doubled over the last ten years.

This is the reason that the World Health Organisation begun an investigation to find out whether mobile phone technology could be used to improve the delivery of health care services to AIDS patients in Africa. The WHO study found that it took time to relay HIV test results to patients, and this could be dramatically reduced by using SMS messaging.

Scientists carried out the study in Zambia and found that turnaround times for delivering a diagnosis by text message would be much faster than traditional methods. The average time for a result notification to reach a health facility from a testing lab fell from 44.2 days to 26.7 days.

Phil Seidenberg of Boston University in the U.S that took part in the research said “We believe that this research signals how the processes behind testing of HIV and other illnesses can be transformed and improved through mobile phone technology, ensuring that healthcare facilities and patients are provided with their results far more quickly”.

Digital technology that includes mobile phones and tablet PCs are seen as a key part of improving healthcare in the near future, and decreasing the turnaround time for HIV testing can help getting patients onto ART earlier according to researchers.

UNICEF and the researchers in Zambia begun the study to look into concerns that the slow delivery of test results led to critical delays in children accessing treatment.

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One thought on “Fighting Aids with HIV Test diagnosis by mobile SMS”

  1. Reply
    Better2Know says:

    I worked in a hosptial in Tanzania for 6 months, we only used rapid HIV testing for many of the reasons in this article – that it could be difficult to contact patients with the results.  Most people in Tanzania have mobile phones (usually more than one network) but the problem was finding the power to charge them.

    I now work for Better2Know, the UK’s leading private provider of STD testing services.  We make sure that everyone is spoken to with their test results – unless they request an email or SMS, but all positive results are delivered either on the phone or in person if it was something as serious as HIV.  Finding out you are HIV+ by text is not really acceptable in the UK, so why should it be in Africa?

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