Can trained lay providers perform HIV testing services? A review of national HIV testing policies
Research article - January 2017
Only an estimated 54% of people living with HIV are aware of their status. Despite progress scaling up HIV testing services (HTS), a testing gap remains. Delivery of HTS by lay providers may help close this testing gap, while also increasing uptake and acceptability of HIV testing among key populations and other priority groups.
50 National HIV testing policies were collated from WHO country intelligence databases, contacts and testing program websites. Data regarding lay provider use for HTS was extracted and collated. Our search had no geographical or language restrictions. This data was then compared with reported data from the Global AIDS Response Progress Reporting (GARPR) from July 2015.
Forty-two percent of countries permit lay providers to perform HIV testing and 56% permit lay providers to administer pre-and post-test counseling. Comparative analysis with GARPR found that less than half (46%) of reported data from countries were consistent with their corresponding national HIV testing policy.
Given the low uptake of lay provider use globally and their proven use in increasing HIV testing, countries should consider revising policies to support lay provider testing using rapid diagnostic tests.