Govt bans HIV testing kits

The Health Department has placed a suspension on the use of SD Bioline HIV testing kits.

SD Bioline HIV Testing Kit. Picture: Standard Diagnostics Inc.

JOHANNESBURG - The Health Department has placed a suspension on the use of SD Bioline HIV testing kits in public health facilities following an Eyewitness News expose.

Despite the fact that testing kits were blacklisted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), government awarded a R22.5 million tender for the supply of those kits.

The WHO declared HIV testing kit SD Bioline should not be distributed by any government because it was found to provide wrong results to patients.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told public hospitals and clinics to not use SD Bioline until the WHO approves that it gives accurate results.

"The decision for now is that that sample cannot be used within the health care system in South Africa."

It emerged last week that Standard Diagnostics Inc, the company supplying the kits, started doing so in April, after the National Institute of Communicable Diseases allegedly gave government the go-ahead.

The National Treasury on Thursday confirmed to Eyewitness News that 4.5 million testing kits were approved for distribution.

It decided at the weekend to look into how the tender was awarded.

Treasury spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane said: "We are reviewing all the decision-making processes relating to the transversal tender for the rapid HIV test kits.

An update on the Treasury's investigation will be released by the end of this week, Sikhakhane said.