In December 2016, the World Health Organisation released the Guidelines on HIV Self-Testing and Partner Notification. Under these guidelines, the Technical Working Group of the HIV Department reviewed the evidence from research conducted globally and has made the following recommendation:
Effective and safe
Key evidence has found that HIVST, when compared to standard HIV testing:
- More than doubles uptake of HIV testing among men who have sex with men and male partners of pregnant or post-partum women.
- Increases uptake of couples HIV testing among male partners of pregnant or post-partum women.
- Nearly doubles frequency of HIV testing among men who have sex with men1.
- Can result in identifying an equivalent or greater proportion of HIV-positive people.
- Does not increase HIV risk behaviours (such as condomless anal intercourse) or the
number of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Does not decrease uptake or frequency of testing for STIs.
- Does not increase reported social harm, adverse events or behaviours.
- Can perform as well as an HIV RDT used and interpreted by a trained health worker.
- Can achieve acceptable sensitivity (80–100%) and specificity (95.1– 100%), especially using
products that meet quality, safety and performance standards.