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.
Of no surprise to those in the HIV field, the epidemic continues to be fueled by stigma, none more evident than among key and mobile populations, such as people who inject drugs and sex workers. Speakers at the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference shared their experiences in working with these groups and challenged participants to view them as people – and not merely a public health problem.
Background: HIV self-testing (HIVST) can improve HIV-testing rates in ‘hard-to-reach’ populations, including men. We explored HIVST perceptions, delivery strategies, and post-test experiences among pregnant women and their male partners in Central Uganda.
Providing HIV self-testing kits to pregnant women to encourage HIV testing in their male partners is acceptable to men and women in Uganda, but women who are apprehensive about their partners’ reactions may need more support, according to findings from a qualitative study of participants in a ran
HIV testing is free in Malawi, but users may still incur costs that can deter or delay them accessing these services. We sought to identify and quantify these costs among HIV testing service clients in Malawi.
HIV self-testing (HIVST) was introduced to overcome barriers to conventional testing services such as facility- and community-based HIV testing and counseling. It allows a person to perform and interpret their own HIV test results in a private space and time of their choice - making testing more accessible and acceptable. I strongly believe in the power of autonomy and choice when it comes to accessing health services, especially now that health care providers understand that one size does not fit all. Why not apply this approach to HIV testing services as well?
Recent data from many high-burden countries show that men, particularly those aged 24-35, access HIV testing and treatment at low rates, endangering their own health and also expanding the spread of HIV among adolescent girls and young women. MenStar will support innovative approaches to deliver appropriate and effective HIV/AIDS services for men, increasing their rapid uptake of HIV testing, linkage to HIV treatment, and achievement of viral suppression.
Reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 HIV targets depends on 90% of people living with HIV knowing their status by 2020. Today, the global total is approximately 70%; however, recent trials have shown that access to HIV self-testing can increase testing rates broadly, helping to boost that percentage.
Remarkable progress is being made on HIV treatment. Ahead of World AIDS Day, UNAIDS has launched a new report showing that access to treatment has risen significantly. In 2000, just 685 000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy.