01 December 2015 | Statements

Unitaid and WHO review emerging landscape for HIV self-testing

UNITAID and WHO today release a Landscape report that gives projections of the demand for and supply of HIV rapid diagnostic tests for self-testing and summarizes the emerging market landscape for this approach.

The Landscape encompasses HIV rapid diagnostic tests used for professional-use and for self-testing, including estimates of demand and supply, pricing and the approval pathways.

This information will likely be useful for manufacturers, donors, national programmes, researchersand many other global health stakeholders who are exploring the potential role of HIV self-testing.

A person’s knowledge of their HIV status is essential to the success of the HIV response, as HIV testing services are the gateway to treatment, prevention and care. Globally only 54 percent of all people with HIV are aware of their status, and many people from key population groups, men, adolescents and other at high risk for HIV remain untested and underserved. In order to fast-track the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic the United Nations issued several targets, including diagnosing 90 percent of all people with HIV by 2020.

HIV self-testing is an additional approach to help countries expand access to HIV testing services and reach people at risk or living with HIV who are undiagnosed and who may not otherwise undergo a test. The public health and market impact of introducing HIV self-testing is still emerging.

As a result of the latest scientific evidence, in July 2015, WHO issued guidelines on HIV testing services which encourage countries to conduct demonstration projects and pilot HIV self-testing. Many projects are underway and, while there are several HIV rapid diagnostic tests adapted for self-testing, questions remain about the potential demand and market size, the availability of quality-assured tests and the approval pathway for rapid diagnostic tests for HIV self-testing, particularly for resource-limited settings.

For more information, contact Carmen Pérez-Casas at perezcasasc@unitaid.who.int and Rachel Baggaley at baggaleyr@who.int

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