Researchers say app to support HIV self-testing shows promise in Canada

Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day

A group of Montreal researchers have developed a smartphone and tablet app that they say could help people to detect HIV through self-testing.

Researchers from the McGill University Health Centre and a Montreal health clinic tested the HIVSmart! app among 451 people during a study that took place in 2016 and 2017.

Participants were given a saliva-based self-test and a tablet with the app, which guided them through the process of performing and interpreting the test, storing results and connecting them to care.

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The researchers concluded that the app-based process was ”accepted and feasible” for the participants and has the potential to promote increased screening in populations that run a high risk for HIV.

Because at-home HIV self-tests kits aren’t yet approved in Canada, the participants took the tests in a clinical setting and the results were confirmed with a blood test.

The World Health Organization has recommended countries implement self-testing strategies as a way to reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV.

The Canadian Press

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