Abbott announced it has launched a new HIV home test, the Panbio HIV Self Test, for over-the-counter purchase at e-commerce channels in Hong Kong, allowing users to obtain results anytime, anywhere in 15-20 minutes. The Panbio HIV Self Test is a newly developed rapid, fingerstick blood test for the detection of HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies, the two types of HIV virus that can develop into AIDS. It can recognize patients as positive 1-14 days earlier than previous second-generation tests from exposure to HIV infection.
Several peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses have shown blood-based collection for HIV self-testing to be more accurate when compared to oral fluid (saliva) collection for rapid diagnostic tests. The number of HIV tests conducted in Hong Kong fell by 55.4% in 2020 compared with that in 2019, according to AIDS Concern Hong Kong. This was due to the closure and reduction in operational hours of testing centers due to COVID-19.
People also chose to delay testing while the COVID-19 control measures were in place. There have been significant advances around human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) detection and treatment, yet stigma and fear of a positive diagnosis are the major reasons people avoid getting tested. This innovation brings a trusted and accurate self-test to the front lines of the HIV epidemic, enabling reliable detection of HIV in the privacy of people's homes or where they live, study, socialize and work.