World’s largest study of HIV self-testing gets off the ground

Roger Pebody

Early data from STAR, the largest study yet of HIV self-testing, suggests that there is a strong demand for self-testing in rural Zimbabwe, the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) heard this week. Other studies examined whether self-testing kits can help the male partners of pregnant women to test and whether such use might sometimes be coercive.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines HIV self-testing as “a process in which an individual who wants to know his or her HIV status collects a specimen, performs a test and interprets the result by him or herself, often in private”. By giving people the opportunity to test discreetly and conveniently, HIV self-testing may increase the uptake of HIV testing among people not reached by other HIV testing services, including people who have never taken a test.

The STAR project is is aiming to explore a range of distribution methods in order to understand their effectiveness in reaching end-users and facilitating linkage to care. The four year project aims to ‘catalyse’ the market for HIV self-testing and generate evidence on the feasibility, acceptability, scalability, costs and cost-effectiveness of different approaches.

As well as influencing WHO guidance and national policies, the project aims to help companies and policy makers understand the size of the market for HIV self-testing – this could encourage manufacturers to invest more in this area.

August 23, 2016
Year of publication
Resource types
Conference materials, Journal and research articles
HIV self-testing, Zimbabwe, 21st International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2016, HIV self-testing kits, STAR project, linkage to care

Similar Resources

Providing HIV testing at health facilities remains the most common approach to ensuring access to HIV treatment and prevention services for the millions of undiagnosed HIV-infected individuals in sub-Saharan Africa.

For prevention of HIV, early infant male circumcision (EIMC) needs to be scaled up in countries with high HIV prevalence. Routine EIMC will maintain the HIV prevention gains anticipated from current adult male circumcision initiatives.

The 14 countries that are scaling up voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention are also considering early infant male circumcision (EIMC) to ensure longer-term reductions in HIV incidence. The cost of implementing EIMC is an important factor in scale-up decisions.

To understand the uptake of HIV services by adolescent women, the authors conducted a retrospective analysis of patient-level data (2011–2013) on services for antenatal care (ANC) and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in 36 facilities in 5 districts in Zimbabwe.

In view of expanding 'test and treat' initiatives, we sought to elicit how the experience of HIV testing influenced subsequent engagement in HIV care among people diagnosed with HIV.

Children living with HIV who are not diagnosed in infancy often remain undiagnosed until they present with advanced disease.

This study examined the effectiveness of integrating provider-initiated HIV testing services into pediatric care at 33 facilities in Zimbabwe. The intervention included community awareness raising using village health workers to increase referrals for HIV testing at health facilities.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) remains a serious problem with a wide range of health consequences including poor maternal and newborn health outcomes.

Though condom use is now higher than ever before, key gaps remain in countries and in certain populations, where use has stagnated or even decreased.