HIV self-testing in resource-limited settings: regulatory and policy considerations
Journal article published in AIDS and behavior, July 2014
HIV self-testing (HIVST) is an emerging HIV testing strategy intended to address challenges of increasing access to preliminary knowledge of serostatus. It offers the potential for tests and testing to reach more people than previously possible, including those who do not seek testing in facilities. With approval of an HIV self-test kit in the USA, increasing evidence from public pilot programs in sub-Saharan Africa showing high acceptability and feasibility, and evidence of the informal sale of rapid HIV test kits in the private sector, options for individuals to access HIV self-testing, as well as consumer-demand, appear to be increasing.
More recently WHO and UNAIDS have explored self-testing as an option to achieving greater HIV testing coverage to support global treatment targets. However, for resource-limited settings, technological development, diagnostic device regulation and quality assurance policies are lagging behind. This commentary will examine regulatory and policy issues with HIVST, given its increased prominence as a potential part of the global HIV/AIDS response.