Montreal – a group of researchers from Montreal have developed an application for smartphones and tablets that they say could help people detect HIV through self-testing – if such tests are approved in Canada.
Researchers at McGill University Medical Center and Montreal Health Clinic tested HIVSmart! an apartment of 451 people during a study that took place in 2016 and 2017.
The participants received a self-test based on the saliva and tablet with application, which led them through the process of performing and interpreting the test, storing results and connecting them to care.
Of those who were tested, 0.7 percent were found to have the virus and were associated with a doctor the same day. The study noted that all results were determined as accurate when tested against more traditional detection methods.
The researchers concluded that the application-based process is "accepted and feasible" for the participants and has the potential to promote increased screening in populations that have a higher risk of HIV.
In Canada, these populations include men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, indigenous populations and immigrants from countries where the virus is spread.
"Promoting screening reduces the number of people who do not know their HIV status, quickly put HIV-positive people in treatment, so that their viral accusation becomes invisible and finally eradicate HIV," says the co-author of study by Dr. Redzhan Thomas in a statement.
Because HIV test kits have not yet been approved in Canada, participants were tested in clinical conditions and the results were confirmed with a blood test.
The study was conducted in Montreal between July 2016 and February 2017 for men between the ages of 18 and 73 who have sex with other males.
Of them, almost 99 percent think the application is useful, and 94 percent say they would recommend it to a friend or partner, according to a study published earlier this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The World Health Organization urged countries to implement self-testing strategies as a way to reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV.
The Global Strategy for the Elimination of AIDS includes the goal of having 95 percent of all people living with HIV knowing their status by 2030.