In an effort to further support countries, programme managers, health workers and other stakeholders seeking to achieve national and international HIV goals, World Health Organisation (WHO) issues new recommendations and additional guidance on HIV self-testing (HIVST) and assisted HIV partner notification services.
These new guidelines aim to:
- Support the implementation and scale-up of ethical, effective, acceptable and evidence-based approaches to HIVST and assisted HIV partner notification.
- Support the routine offer of voluntary assisted HIV partner notification services as part of a public health approach to delivering HTS.
- Provide guidance on how HIVST and assisted HIV partner notification services could be integrated into both community-based and facility-based HTS approaches and be tailored to specific population groups.
- Support the introduction of HIVST as a formal HTS intervention using quality-assured products that are approved by WHO and official local and international bodies.
- Position HIVST and assisted HIV partner notification services as HTS approaches that will contribute to closing the testing gap and achieving the UN’s 90 –90 –90 and 2030 global goals.
WHO asked a range of experts their opinions and significance of the new HIV self-testing and assisted partner notification recommendations. Representing the MSM communities in Asia and the Pacific, APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana is found among the interviewed experts, affirming APCOM’s commitment to utilise the Guidelines with the community through the following statement.
“We know that only about half of gay men and other MSM in the Asia-Pacific actually get tested for HIV, and 90% do not have access to HIV prevention and care because of discriminatory laws and practices. HIV self-testing is an alternative choice for individuals and an exciting tool to invigorate demand for HIV testing within the larger framework of health, human rights and development goals (SDG30). APCOM appreciates the partnership with WHO in gathering information from the field for HIV self-testing and assisted HIV partner notification and looks forward to working together to roll out the guidelines in a way that is led and owned by the communities that we work for and with.”
Watch Cheryl Johnson, HIV Testing Specialist, explains how the new WHO guidance will support countries to promote self-testing and increase access to HIV services worldwide.