Kenya has embraced the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of a three-test algorithm for HIV diagnosis, aiming to improve the accuracy of HIV testing across the country.

The Ministry of Health emphasized that the adoption of this advanced HIV testing method underscores its dedication to providing high-quality healthcare services to all citizens.

Medical Services Principal Secretary (PS), Harry Kimtai, urged the public to continue utilizing HIV testing services nationwide while emphasizing the importance of supporting ongoing surveillance efforts to ensure the reliability of testing services.

Kimtai reaffirmed the Ministry’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards in HIV testing despite recent challenges to the quality of testing services.

He explained that through rigorous training programs and stringent quality assurance measures, the Ministry ensures the reliability and safety of HIV testing services provided across healthcare facilities in the country.

With Kenya ranking 7th globally for its HIV epidemic and approximately 1.4 million People Living with HIV (PLHIV), Kimtai highlighted the country’s ongoing efforts in delivering comprehensive care and preventive measures.

As of December 2023, over 1.3 million PLHIV were receiving treatment across various healthcare facilities nationwide, indicating the government’s commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Kenya conducts more than 8 million HIV tests annually across numerous testing sites, showcasing the nation’s dedication to standardized and accessible testing services for its citizens.

In response to evolving epidemiology, WHO recommended countries to adopt a standard HIV testing strategy involving three consecutive reactive tests for an HIV-positive diagnosis. This strategy aims to ensure quality services as countries work towards achieving the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.

The WHO guidance also emphasizes the introduction of dual HIV/syphilis rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and the phase-out of older testing technologies.

Many countries, including those in the WHO African Region, have embraced this guidance, significantly increasing compliance with HIV testing strategies.

According to WHO, HIV testing algorithms should prioritize tests with high sensitivity and specificity, ensuring accurate diagnosis and minimizing the risk of misdiagnosis.

All individuals newly diagnosed with HIV should undergo retesting to verify their status before initiating Antiretroviral therapy (ART), following the same testing strategy as the initial test, as recommended by WHO.

Kenya’s adoption of the WHO-recommended three-test algorithm for HIV diagnosis represents a significant step towards enhancing HIV testing accuracy and improving healthcare services for its population.