WHO suggests using tests to self-identify HIV

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 17.10.2021

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16 December 2016, 09:00

In honor of World AIDS Day, WHO issued new recommendations on HIV self-identification.

Experts note that to date, diagnostic methods for HIV are not perfect, which means that some HIV-infected people do not get antiretroviral drugs, because they either do not know about their status, or can not for any reason go to a special institution for diagnosis. Experts point out that most people do not even know that they are infected with HIV, many are at high risk of infection, in addition, it is noted that it is difficult for some people to turn to specialized services to check their HIV status. 

Margaret Chan, WHO Director General, said that many people infected with HIV not only can not receive proper treatment, but also pose a threat to the surrounding people, and it is self-identification of HIV that will help many to know their HIV status. A new test can be done at home and it will require saliva or blood from the finger, and after 15-20 minutes you will be able to find out the results. If the result is positive, it is recommended that you immediately go to a medical institution to confirm the diagnosis.

Such patients will be provided with advice on the disease and its treatment, as well as given a referral to special institutions for the prevention and treatment of HIV patients.

According to WHO experts, self-identification of HIV will allow testing more people and expand the rights and opportunities of some categories of citizens, carry out early diagnosis of HIV. The new test is especially important for people who for some reason can not seek help from the relevant services.

Over the past 10 years, the number of people who know about their HIV status has increased by almost 50% globally and about 90% of patients receive the necessary drugs.

Globally, different categories of the population have problems accessing HIV diagnostics, men are less likely to seek help than women, and HIV is more often detected by chance. Among women, a high incidence rate is observed in the countries of South and East Africa. Also, high incidence rates of HIV are observed among prostitutes, homosexuals, transgender people, drug addicts, prisoners - about 50% of cases occur in these categories of citizens.

Partners of HIV-infected people are also under great threat - up to 70% are also infected, but do not even know about it. 

The new recommendations also have items that will help people with HIV to open up to their partners and help them get through the diagnosis. The self-testing test for HIV will allow people to learn about their HIV status and take appropriate measures in a timely manner.

The new test almost doubled the detection rates of HIV among homosexuals, studies in Kenya showed that standard diagnostic methods are half as effective as a new test for self-HIV.

Now 23 countries have supported the idea of introducing tests for self-HIV, a number of countries are developing policies to reduce the spread of HIV, however, self-identification of HIV in them is limited.

WHO offered to distribute tests for the self-exposure of HIV free of charge or to make the price as accessible to all segments of the population as possible.

Currently, WHO supports 3 countries in South Africa, where they have already started using self-HIV testing in the framework of the STAR project.

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