Canada: HIV self-testing kits for blood examined for licensing

Researchers are launching a study on HIV self-testing kits with the aim of gaining federal approval for the first such device in Canada. Sean Rourke, a scientist with the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael's Hospital, said the clinical trial will begin in Toronto on Wednesday before expanding across the country in coming weeks.

The neuropsychologist said data will be collected on 1,000 people who will take the one-minute, finger-prick blood test at sexual health clinics in several provinces. Rourke said he's hopeful the study's findings will persuade Health Canada to approve the first HIV self-test for use as early as 2020.

Rourke, who serves on the board of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, said the number of new HIV cases in Canada has increased in recent years, in contrast to the downward trend seen in other G7 countries. As of 2016, there were more than 63,000 Canadians living with HIV, one in seven of whom were unaware of their condition, according to estimates released by the Public Health Agency of Canada last year.

Rourke said diagnosing the roughly 9,000 Canadians who don't know they have HIV is critical to helping them access life-extending treatments and preventing further transmission of the disease. Read more via CBC