Unsupervised self-testing as part public health screening for HIV in resource-poor environments: some ethical considerations

Journal article published in AIDS and behavior, July 2014

P. Anne Scott

Publication details

Publication date: July 2014
Languages: English



The use of unsupervised self-testing as part of a national screening program for HIV infection in resource-poor environments with high HIV prevalence may have a number of attractive aspects, such as increasing access to services for hard to reach and isolated populations. However, the presence of such technologies is at a relatively early stage in terms of use and impact in the field. In this paper, a principle-based approach, that recognizes the fundamentally utilitarian nature of public health combined with a focus on autonomy, is used as a lens to explore some of the ethical issues raised by HIV self-testing.

The conclusion reached in this review is that at this point in time, on the basis of the principles of utility and respect for autonomy, it is not ethically appropriate to incorporate unsupervised HIV self-testing as part of a public health screening program in resource-poor environments.

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