Alert, but not alarmed
20 June 2017 – In a letter to the editor of the Journal of the International AIDS Society, WHO clarified its response to a recent article published by the Journal regarding the interpretation of their data on WHO prequalified HIV testing kits. WHO explains its position on the limited data discussed in the journal article with the purpose of providing clearer information to the national programmes.
Correct test results are a high priority at WHO, duly included in the “5Cs”, and essential to the delivery of all HIV testing services. Since the advent of HIV testing programmes, WHO has supported countries to implement quality HIV testing services. This includes evidence-based testing strategies for high (≥ 5%) and low (<5%) prevalence settings; product selection; validation of national algorithms; and quality assurance systems to prevent and address potential misdiagnosis of HIV status (both false-positive and false-negative results).
As part of this work, WHO issued a Q&A and letter to the editor to provide further clarification about the accuracy and reliability of HIV test results, based on WHO prequalified tests used in accordance with normative guidance.
Further efforts to scale up HIV testing in parallel with quality systems will continue to be essential to achieving global goals, starting with “the first 90” – to diagnosis 90% of all people with HIV by 2020.