Syphilis-causing germ

By Kasim Sumaina

Alere Healthcare Services Ltd has launched an HIV/Syphilis point of care rapid test duo device to help enhance optimal screening of the dreaded virus during antennal care, as well as to successfully prevent mother to child transmission.

Ninety per cent of HIV infections to children are from mother to child transmission during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding. The transmission is prevented by testing, counseling and medical care even though pregnant women are infected with HIV.

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Alere Nigeria Ltd, Mrs. Aduni Udu, disclosed recently at the launch of the device that, “the essence of introducing the new technology was to enhance optimal screening of the virus, as well as to ensure that potential carriers know their status at the point of care.”

According to her, “The old device use to take about five hours before the result test can be produced, as a result of viral load. But, with the revolutionary technology now available in the country, it takes not more than 45 minutes to get the result and this makes it easier to counsel and provide medical care to the patient at the point of testing.”
She stressed that it was important that patients know their status, considering the fact that individuals who are unaware of their infection were 3.5 times more likely to transmit the virus to someone else.

“Screening and treatment of women positive for syphilis, in prevention of MTCT of HIV programmes in the context of integrated antenatal care is critical to improve maternal and neonatal health, and contribute to prevention of HIV transmission.”

“Integrating a new rapid syphilis test into prenatal care and HIV testing would prevent congenital syphilis cases and stillbirths. Rapid syphilis test integrated into PMTCT of HIV which is already set up would be more attractive than separate vertical program,” she said.