WHO Tweeted About What Self-Testing For HIV Will Pave The Way For

By      04-Aug 2022       Reading Time: 4 Mins

WHO Tweeted About What Self-Testing For HIV Will Pave The Way For

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the white blood cells called CD4 cells. HIV destroys these CD4 cells, weakening a person’s immunity against opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis and fungal infections, severe bacterial infections, and some cancers. HIV can be diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests that provide same-day results. This greatly facilitates early diagnosis and linkage with treatment and care. People can also use HIV self-tests to test themselves.

The World Health Organisation recommends HIV self-testing as a safe, accurate and effective way to reach people who may not test otherwise, and to date, has prequalified 6 HIV self-tests both oral fluid and blood-based products, assuring the quality and usability of these products. Quality-assured diagnostic tests are critical for effective healthcare systems. The addition of a new self-test to the list of prequalified In Vitro Diagnostics contributes to ensuring access to safe, appropriate and affordable tests of good quality. Self-care is a fundamental shift in health care delivery, giving individuals information, knowledge, and quality interventions to manage the health system with a supportive health system.

Self-care options for #HIV, including self-testing, will pave the way for:

  • stronger health systems
  • more resilient response to sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • better outcomes

Globally, many countries have developed national policies that support HIV self-testing, and implementation is growing rapidly. As of June 2022, 98 countries – 52% of reporting countries – have a policy on HIV self-testing, but implementation is lagging behind, with only 52 countries routinely implementing globally. WHO estimates that major donors and governments procured more than 10 million HIV self-tests in low- and middle-income countries in the year 2021. While the future forecast looks promising, the availability of low-cost quality products for self-testing is critical to addressing the large need for HIV self-testing.

During COVID-19, many countries moved to accelerate HIV testing approaches that included HIV self-testing. The newly negotiated price reduction is an opportunity for more programs to adopt and deliver HIV self-testing and to bring testing, treatment, and prevention services to those who need them most. Advanced HIV disease remains a persistent problem in the HIV response. People continue to present or re-present for care with advanced immune suppression, putting them at a higher risk of developing opportunistic infections.

Over To You:
HIV self-testing (HIVST) is a convenient and confidential option for HIV testing. Globally, many countries have developed HIVST policies, and implementation is growing rapidly.

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