Sowetan LIVE (08.06.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
South Africa hopes to greatly reduce the rate of human papillomavirus (HPV) in women by initiating a new HPV home self-collection test program. HPV causes cervical cancer, which can be treated if caught in the early stages. The UDoTest is said to be more accurate than a pap smear, the long-used conventional test, and is administered in the privacy of a woman’s home. Besides, only 20 percent of South African women ever visit a doctor to have a pap smear.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 6,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year among South African women, causing approximately 3,000 annual deaths. WHO predicts that the current death rate of 8 women each day will increase by the year 2025 to 12 deaths per day.
"There are many reasons why women across the world decide not to get screened and these include education, cost, access to medical practitioners, social barriers, apprehension, uneasiness, lack of time, family constraints, cultural barriers," said Allison Martin, a physician at UDoTest. "Our highly specific and sensitive test aims to remove some of these barriers by providing women with the opportunity to collect their own sample of cervical cells in the comfort of their home and have it analyzed in an accredited pathology laboratory," comments Martin.
The medical community has accepted the UDoTest, and specialists claim it is more accurate at detecting the disease. Healthcare professionals believe women are capable of conducting the sampling themselves and equate the ease of it to purchasing air time for a mobile phone. Women can purchase the test online and will be delivered to their home within 24 hours. The company will collect the test and deliver it to an accredited lab for analysis. Results are provided to by a doctor through a woman’s secure online UDoTest profile.