By Wycliffe Muga
If you like movies at all, by now you will have seen - many times - the scene in which a woman walks into her bathroom to perform a simple test which will tell her (with a high degree of accuracy) whether or not she is pregnant. Somehow this scene is played out in many a romantic comedy and found to be humourous. Here is a point to consider: is there any way to inject humour into a movie scene in which a man or woman goes into the bathroom to administer a self-test to find out if he or she was infected by HIV??
I don't think so. It is possible to make fun of a woman getting pregnant when she did not want to. But HIV is far too serious for humour.
So, going by the Health Systems Trust of South Africa website, here is the good news: "Home-testing kits for HIV have reached the shelves of pharmacies, despite concerns on their accuracy and the wisdom of testing oneself for the virus that causes AIDS. For just R70 and five minutes, the do-it-yourself test promises quick, easy and 99% accurate results to one of the most serious questions facing South Africans."
And, on the same webpage, here is the bad news: "AIDS counsellors are concerned that DIY tests bypass the counselling necessary to prepare for an HIV diagnosis... Deputy AIDS director Celicia Serenata said the Health Department did not encourage the use of home AIDS tests but there was no legislation to regulate their sale."