by Jesse Hastings
Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange portal (SHARE),10 July 2017
HIV testing is the gateway to prevention and treatment services, which reduce HIV transmission and related morbidity and mortality. Despite the benefits of testing, barriers such as costs, lack of convenience and confidentiality, and fear of stigma, discrimination, and in some settings, possible prosecution, continue to hinder access and uptake. And in 2015 it was estimated that 40 percent of people living with HIV remain unaware of their status. To close these gaps, focused HIV testing approaches designed to reach these missing groups will be essential. HIV self-testing is a process in which a person collects a specimen, performs a test, and interprets the result, often in private or with a person they trust. It is a safe, acceptable, and effective way to reach people with undiagnosed HIV and those at ongoing HIV risk who may be hesitant or unable to access existing services.