It starts with a swab but does it end with a diagnosis? Why the trickiest part of DIY HIV testing happens after the test
The trick, says Ann Moore as she pulls the small white stick from the plastic packaging, is not just to swab the gums but to scrape them.
The doctor sticks the rod under her lip and drags it first along one side of her gums, then the other.
“You don’t want saliva. You want the cells – the antibodies.”
She places the stick into a tube of clear liquid and waits. One line would mean she is HIV negative; two, HIV positive.
In 2013, the United Nations set the world an ambitious target of “90-90-90”: the idea was that, by 2020, 90% of all HIV-infected people would know their status, 90% of those diagnosed with HIV would be on antiretrovirals, and 90% of people receiving treatment would be virally suppressed.
Just three years away from the goal date, and with only 65% of South Africa’s 6.8-million people living with HIV diagn