The World Health Organization has issued the new Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Testing Services (HTS). Launched at the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference 2015 in Vancouver, Canada, the Guidelines bring together existing relevant guidelines to the provision of HTS and address issues and elements for effective delivery of HTS in a variety of settings, contexts and for diverse populations. APCOM welcomes WHO’s new recommendation provided in the Guidelines: “Lay providers who are trained can independently conduct safe and effective HIV testing services using rapid diagnostic tests.”
The recommendation is crucial in reaching the new UN 90–90–90 global HIV targets, the first target being that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
“The recommendation is crucial in reaching the new UN 90–90–90 global HIV targets, the first target being that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status,” said APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana, who’s also a member of the Guidelines development group, noting the breakthrough recommendation that will widen the task sharing within healthcare settings.
APCOM also submitted the Regional Report: MSM and HIV Counselling and Testing in Asia and the Pacific to WHO as a background document to the development of the Guidelines. The regional report curates inputs from key community informants in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam.
In 2013, at the end of the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Bangkok, APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana, representing United Nations entities, civil society networks and development partners in the Asia and the Pacific, delivered a joint statement urging for a rapid increase of voluntary confidential community-based HIV testing and counseling for key populations at higher risk—including men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs. The Guidelines’ recommendation supporting the role of lay providers can be further seen as a manifestation of the joint statement.
The Guidelines are also accompanied by a series of policy briefs and fact sheets that are designed to enable and encourage policy-makers to implement and use the Guidelines more systematically and frequently. Accordingly, APCOM will publicize, monitor and evaluate the use of the Guidelines and policy briefs in its advocacy programmes to make sure that the provided recommendations are not only acknowledged but also implemented in Asia and the Pacific.
To download the complete set of the Guidelines, Fact Sheet and Policy Briefs, go here.
To join the conversation on social media, use #Test4HIV hashtag and support the Test4HIV thunderclap.