‘No lives placed at risk by faulty HIV kits’

Aaron Motsoaledi said the SD Bioline kits sent to Kenya were found to be faulty.

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

JOHANNESBURG - More than 500,000 SD Bioline HIV testing kits have been distributed in South Africa since April, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Monday.

But the minister said no lives were placed at risk by the faulty kits.

In January, the testing kit was blacklisted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because it provides inconclusive results on HIV tests.

Motsoaledi said SD Bioline kits sent to Kenya were found to be faulty, but those in South Africa were all above board.

WHO's Kees de Joncheere explained that the tests give inconclusive results, meaning it would be impossible for a patient to be incorrectly diagnosed.

"It's not a matter of whether these tests give a false negative or false positive result."

A probe into the awarding of the tender of the faulty kits will be released next month.

Earlier on Monday, Motsoaledi said junior officials who awarded the tender should have consulted him first.

"I believe that these junior officials should have elevated this matter to the level of the minister and the director-general."

"We are the only ones who should have taken the decision on what to do in view of the discrepancy between the National institute of Communicable Diseases and the Health Organisation."