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Uses only a finger prick of blood.
Cost only $34 to manufacture.
Small enough to fit into one hand
Does not rely on laboratory facilities.
Gets its energy supply from the phone so can be used in remote places
Being able to find out if you have caught something quickly reduces the risk of spreading it to other people.
So it is an exciting development in the fight against HIV, particularly in African countries where mother to child transmission of HIV (amongst other routes) remains a major concern with over 2 million children infected with HIV while in the womb, during birth, or by being breastfed.
The next step is for the antiretroviral medications (used to treat HIV) to be so readily available in developing countries as well.
Otherwise, what is the point of fast, easy and cheap diagnosis if there isn’t corresponding available and cheap medication to treat those diagnosed with HIV in poor communities?
Dr Adaeze Ifezulike is a Family Physician/GP based in Aberdeen. She is a Finalist at the UK Sexual Health Awards 2015 and for her book ‘Understanding Contraception: A guide for black ladies’ she has been nominated ‘Author of the Year’ at the Women4Africa Awards.
Nma came with her daughter Aka to see me a few days later. I was surprised as I thought she might be coming with Dike as mentioned at the last meeting.
I had no idea if she had told her daughter about her diagnosis.
As usual she looked immaculate and so did her daughter.
”Hello, come and have a seat” I smiled at them.
”How can I help you today?” I asked once the pleasantries were done.
”I would like you to tell my daughter about my sickness,” Nma said.
I gave her a questioning look.
”Yes, go ahead” she read my unspoken question.
”What’s wrong with my mother?” Aka asked with a frown on her face.
I hesitated uncertainly.
”I..Nma could I have a word in private with you?” I asked gently with an apologetic glance at Aka.
”There’s no need,” Nma replied with a hint of irritation ”Just tell her, please.”
Aka spoke up ”Tell me what? Tell me what?” she repeated with a slightly raised voice as I hesitated.
”Your mother has been unwell,” I started carefully.
”Yes I know..”
”We have run a number of tests and we found out that she has a viral infection..”
”Viral infection? What’s that?”
”I have got HIV,” Nma declared, impatient at my delay.
”What?” Aka screamed and instantly backed away from her mother.
”Partners of people who have a sexually transmitted infection need to be tested and treated as well.”
”She doesn’t have it,” he said.
”And you think so because you are not having sex with her?”
”Of course we are having sex…”
”So do you use a condom?”
”So she might have caught it from you.”
He was silent.
”Chlamydia infection can be serious for women, you see. It can cause infertility, constant pelvic pain, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies.The good news is that it can be easily treated with antibiotics if detected early and then it wouldn’t have a chance to cause the things I have mentioned.”
”Well, this was two years ago and I am not going to drag this up now. My wife will kill me!”
”I understand. We can help though. When a patient has a sexually transmitted infection but is unable to tell their partner, with their permission, we can send a general text to the partner explaining that they may have been at risk of an infection and encouraging them to come for testing. This is called ‘Partner Notification’.
”Would you like us to do that for you?”
”I will have to think about that,” Dike replied.
Feel free to post your comments below and you can also join the discussion on our facebook page facebook.com/swbforblackladies. Have a lovely weekend.
”So how long ago did you have chlamydia infection?” I asked Dike.
“About two years ago.”
”Did you get treatment for it?”
”How do you think you may have caught the infection?”
”I don’t know,” He shrugged. ”Through sex, I suppose.”
”What about your wife? Did she get treated for it?”
”My wife?” he asked surprised.
”I didn’t get it from my wife.”
I paused expectantly.
He shuffled his feet. He was getting impatient again with all the questioning. I saw he wasn’t going to take my bait. He probably felt he had said enough to this nosy doctor.
How far would you expect your doctor to pry into your private affairs?
Remember you can join the discusson on our facebook page at facebook.com/swbfor blackladies
“Did you use a sterile needle to inject the heroin?”
“I can’t remember to be honest, my friend just made up the shot and helped me inject it,” Dike replied.
“So how long ago was this?”
“About 20 years ago.”
“Have you had a test for HIV or hepatitis since then?”
“Well, it’s good you are here now. We can check and let you know your status.
A few more questions, if that’s okay? Have you ever had a sexually transmitted infection?”
He frowned as he thought about it.
“Thats gonorrhoea….isn’t it?” He asked.
“Gonorrhoea is just one of the sexually transmitted infections,” I replied,”but there are others like chlamydia…”
“Yes! I’ve had that!’ He exclaimed.
Did you know that people infected with a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia, pubic lice, genital warts or syphilis are 2-5 times more likely to acquire HIV infection if exposed to the virus?