HIV self-screening programme: Transport Hub Sexual Health and HIV Survey, Awareness and Distribution Project
With men remaining largely under-tested, the Unitaid-funded HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative has launched a campaign targeting men at transportation hubs, such as taxi ranks and bus stops, in order to raise awareness about and distribute self-test kits to those who are unaware of their HIV status.
Self-testing is a supplementary strategy to achieve the first “90” (90% of all people living with HIV should know their status) of the 90-90-90 targets and is particularly appropriate to reach key and under-tested populations who may face challenges with accessing traditional healthcare.
The oral test kit used provides results in 20 minutes and includes a barcode for tracking and tracing. Clients are provided with a call line, user app for information, and tailored educational materials. Peer educators follow up with clients telephonically and assist in linking HIV-positive clients to care.
The project is assessing acceptability, willingness to pay for the test, and usability in various locations and populations, and has found low levels of social harm from self-testing. Approaches in reaching men with self-testing include peer referral, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services, sporting events, virtual platforms, partner delivery, and community-based distribution.
The project hopes to ultimately use its data to inform the National Department of Health on the most effective implementation model by assessing which distribution models work best for which population, how to measure impact against national targets, how to achieve the best linkage to care, the cost-effectiveness of each model, and how to address social harm concerns.
Watch this short video for more information.