When was the last time you went for an HIV test? Wait, have you even ever tested your HIV status? That’s only known to you, but more often than not, the reason most people don’t go for HIV tests is the fear of stigmatization.
According to the Government of Kenya (GoK), about half a million people are HIV positive yet they don’t know. Why because they have not been tested, basically due to the fear of facing HIV counselors and chances of a second or third party coming in contact with their test results. In order to eliminate this fear factor and increase the demand for HIV testing, GoK introduced HIV Self Test Kits back in May 2017. These kits, as you may have guessed, are meant to help those who are afraid of walking into an HIV testing center to discreetly determine their HIV status at a time and place only convenient to them.
The GoK started selling these kits last year through a number of private pharmacies, however, there are still lots of people out there who can’t access these kits simply because they have no idea where to find them.
While you can still locate pharmacies that sell HIV Self Test Kits through the official website at www.besure.co.ke, the prevalent adoption of smartphones has presented the Ministry of Health (MoH) with an even better way to spread this love to more people across the country.
Besure mobile app
The MoH has launched a new app called Besure. Unlike its parent website, Besure mobile app narrows down to the program’s core functions. Using the app, you can locate nearby pharmacies that sell HIV Self Test Kits from wherever you are in the country. The app has video tutorials on how to carry out the test as well as referral sites that you can visit after testing yourself, among other resources.
Although Besure is already available for download in the Google Play Store, it’s still in beta. Thus, early adopters may encounter some bugs and non-functional features. For instance, I noticed that tapping on the Settings menu (accessible via the three dots in the top right corner) leads to nowhere, but there should be options under this menu once the app is fully released.
Speaking of which, we don’t have a timeframe, but we don’t expect the developers to take ages before rolling out the stable version. Meanwhile, you can still try the beta version by hitting the download link below.