Geneva – Knowing their HIV status gives people the means to seek treatment, but one in four people living with HIV are not aware they have the disease. In response, Unitaid is investing in innovative diagnostics to bring that knowledge to those in greatest need and often hardest to reach with HIV testing, including key populations, men and young people in Africa.
A report launched jointly today with Population Services International (PSI), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and WHO unveils results of our HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative, which is generating the evidence for countries worldwide to scale up HIV self-testing and encouraging millions more people to find out their HIV status.
The report indicates an estimated 45 percent of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa knew their status at the end of 2014, just before the STAR initiative was launched. It is now estimated 81 percent know their HIV status in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The brilliance of the Unitaid-funded STAR Initiative has been to take a recognized technology and find ways to get it into the hands of those we most need to reach if we are to control the HIV epidemic: men, highly stigmatized groups and those who have been left out of years of investment in HIV testing” said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI. “STAR has created new momentum, brought new actors onto the scene, unlocked new investments by governments and donors. STAR is opening a new chapter in the push to Know Your Status.”