Malawi study shows HIV self-testing is acceptable, safe and accurate

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A recent study from Malawi found that HIV self-testing was acceptable, safe and accurate, and recommended that it could be widely used within sub-Saharan Africa’s urban settings.

Just a quarter of adults living in sub-Saharan Africa have received a recent HIV test; and only half of the adults in sub-Saharan Africa know their HIV status, according to scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine as well as the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Program, who conducted the study.

The goal was to evaluate how well the HIV self-testing techniques would compare to HIV testing and counseling that is home-based. The study lasted for two years and involved 16,660 adults from 14 neighborhoods in urban Blantyre in Malawi.

For self-testing, people must be trained to carry out and analyze their own oral test for HIV. The most significant adoption of self-testing methods involved women and adolescents, but there also were notably large numbers of men.

“Continued high uptake in the second year suggests that scaling up HIV self-testing could have a sustained impact on the coverage of HIV testing and care in Africa, especially for men and adolescents,” Professor Liz Corbett, senior author of the study and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and Clinical Epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said.

Further details are available in PLOS Medicine.

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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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