South African Sex Workers to Benefit From HIV Self-testing Programme

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Regional Correspondent Africa
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Sex workers in three Southern African countries are the first beneficiaries of a programme that will see provide free HIV self-testing kits. Population Services International (PSI) is rolling out oral-swab HIV self-test kits to sex workers and other key populations in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to PSI, the self-testing kits are important because many people have not been tested because of stigma or limited access to health care facilities.

The kits will be made available through HIV testing clinics and retail pharmacies. Users can be assisted by a health care worker to take the test or can do it in their privacy of their homes. It is recommended that those who test positive for HIV to get a confirmatory test at a facility where they can also access more information on treatment and medication.

PSI hopes that the rollout will “establish a body of evidence to demonstrate that HIV self-testing is acceptable, feasible, accurate, and if used by laypeople, safe, and ensures that people are linked to post-test support services,” said Karin Hatzold, director of HIV services at PSI, to TakePart.