New mobile testing kits for HIV and syphilis are being rolled out in the Western Pacific by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Thirty-thousand kits have been distributed in 11 countries, replacing the need for people to travel long distances to testing facilities.
The UNDP’s Anna Chernyshova said the rapid diagnostic kits had also revolutionised the process of testing people in remote areas.
“Especially at the outer islands this procedure was really complicated because they had to send a nurse with all the equipment and she had to collect the blood from the people and then carry it back to the laboratory in the central hospital in one of the other islands,” Ms Chernyshova said.
“So with the arrival of the new test this whole procedure has changed now.”
The UN’s Praneel Maharaj said the new method of testing was similar to techniques used by diabetics.
“It just simply requires a prick, like how you would do a sugar test,” he said.
“Collect the blood, drop it on the test, wait for 15 minutes and the results are out for two tests HIV and syphilis.”
A positive result for syphilis enabled health care workers to immediately recommend treatment while a positive HIV result required further testing, Mr Maharaj said.
“It has to be sent to the laboratory for the confirmation to be done so at least this test kit does a screening for us.”