Saturday, October 7, 2017

HIV Self-Testing: Comments and suggestions invited

Dr KK Aggarwal

As per HIV estimation 2015, India is estimated to have 21 lakh people infected with HIV and only 15.2 lakh PLHIV know their HIV status (Press Information Bureau, August 4, 2017). This means that around 6-7 lakh are still unaware of their HIV status.

To end AIDS by 2030, the United Nations has set global targets as part of its ‘90-90-90’ strategy – to diagnose 90% of all people living with HIV by 2020, to treating 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection with sustained antiretroviral therapy and to maintain viral suppression in 90% of all people receiving ART. Lack of diagnosis has been a major obstacle in achieving these targets. Hence, there is a need for ways to increase access to and use of HIV testing services.

HIV Self-Testing (HIVST) is an innovative way, which can complement the efforts put by NACO in achieving the global target of diagnosing 90% of all people living with HIV by 2020.

Also, HIVST can help in reaching first-time testers, undiagnosed PLHIV and population groups who need frequent retesting and can help countries meet the above targets.

The first global recommendations and Guidelines for HIV Self-testing were released by WHO in December last year.

It is proposed to explore inclusion of HIV self-testing (HIVST) for adoption in the country.

To discuss further on the development of National policy on HIV self -testing, NACO has constituted a Technical Advisory Group, convened by DDG BSD NACO.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has been included in the Technical Advisory Group on HIV Self-Testing.

Kindly give your suggestions to finalize IMA Stand on this issue.

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