Learn from Zambian health workers and experts about the success of HIV self-testing (HIVST), which is being rolled out across southern Africa by the Unitaid-funded and PSI-led HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative.
At PSI, we’re focused on making it easier to prevent, identify and treat HIV/AIDS and TB. We bring consumer voices and perspectives to the disease response, supporting public and private health providers to better respond to the needs of their clients and patients.
Through activities including HIV self-testing, cyber-education, community coaching and pharmacy services, we are working to bring healthcare for HIV and TB closer to those who need it, pairing human connection with new technologies to reach everyone in need with services that speak to their reality.
In 2019, PSI’s HIV programming achieved the following impact for consumers across the globe:
HIV self-test kits distributed
people learn their HIV-positive status and access HIV treatment
young men provided with voluntary medical male circumcisions
As access to the internet expands in countries where we work, PSI is capitalizing on popular social media and messaging platforms to engage users. PSI has adapted face-to-face outreach for the web in the form peer outreach workers (aka cyber educators) trained to identify, inform and engage at-risk individuals within targeted populations using social media and provide referrals to services such as HIV testing.
In 2018, only 79% of people living with HIV knew that they had been infected, often because they lacked access to HIV testing services or didn’t want to visit a clinic. HIV self-testing is helping to overcome these barriers by giving people a discreet and convenient way to learn their HIV status. PSI works with stakeholders such as manufacturers, policymakers and donors to make self-test kits available and identify the most effective models of distributing test kits and linking users to on-going care.
Those newly diagnosed with HIV are often reluctant to disclose their status to their sexual partners. PSI carefully designs and implements culturally sensitive approaches to assisted partner notification to help our clients communicate with their partners and children and ensure that everyone at risk for infection is tested. By considering local norms about communicating sensitive information we build trust with our clients to tackle this challenging dialogue.
Circumcision reduces a man’s risk of acquiring HIV by as approximately 60% and can also protect his female sexual partners from cervical cancer. Persuading men to accept the procedure can be challenging, however. PSI works with market researchers to understand men’s journey from learning about voluntary medical male circumcision to accepting the procedure and develops tailored messaging designed to address their concerns.
People at high risk for HIV such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender women and people who inject drugs face significant barriers to HIV services due to discrimination, criminalization and restrictive policies. PSI makes HIV prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment available at drop-in centers in order to make services available in locations that are convenient and safe for the target population.
With funding from USAID and the Global Fund, doctors in our Sun Clinic franchise in Myanmar offer low-cost TB treatment to their patients. Because these clinics are local and often easier to access than public clinics, patients greatly prefer receiving services there and consistently complete their TB treatment through the clinics.
The HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR) project brings together WHO, academic institutions, implementing partners and donors to build the market for HIV self-testing (HIVST). When the project started in 2016, no developing countries were offering HIVST beyond a few small demonstration projects. By 2018, STAR had distributed almost 3 million self-test kits in 6 countries, and over 70 countries had adopted HIVST into their national HIV testing guidelines.
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Maverick Collective member Anu Khosla, PSI is focusing on some of the most challenging problems related to service uptake by looking at the problem from the patient’s point of view. Our Break the Cycle consortium in South Africa has conducted deep consumer insight research on young men at risk for HIV and is using human-centered design to develop new ways of supporting their uptake of HIV testing, prevention and treatment.
With overarching commitments to flexibility in our work, and greater wellbeing for our employees, we want to ensure PSI is positioned for success with a global and holistic view of talent. Under our new “work from (almost) anywhere,” or “WFAA” philosophy, we are making the necessary investments to be an employer of record in more than half of U.S. states, and consider the U.S. as one single labor market for salary purposes. Globally, we recognize the need to compete for talent everywhere; we maintain a talent center in Nairobi and a mini-hub in Abidjan. PSI also already works with our Dutch-based European partner, PSI Europe, and we’re creating a virtual talent center in the UK.
PSI is firmly committed to the meaningful engagement of young people in our work. As signatories of the Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent & Youth Engagement, PSI affirms that young people have a fundamental right to actively and meaningfully engage in all matters that affect their lives. PSI’s commitments aim to serve and partner with diverse young people from 10-24 years, and we have prioritized ethics and integrity in our approach. Read more about our commitments to the three core principles of respect, justice and Do No Harm in the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Design. And read more about how we are bringing our words to action in our ICPD+25 commitment, Elevating Youth Voices, Building Youth Skills for Health Design.
PSI works to ensure that its operations and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. Read more about this commitment in our policy statement, endorsed by the PSI Board of Directors.
Since 2017, PSI has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a commitment to align strategies and operations with universal principles of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Read about PSI’s commitment to the UN Global Compact here.
The health of PSI’s consumers is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. That’s why we’ve joined the Climate Accountability in Development as part of our commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Read about our commitment to environmental sustainability.
PSI does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability, protected veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Read our full affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policy here.
PSI is committed to establishing and maintaining a work environment that fosters harmonious, productive working relationships and encourages mutual respect among team members. Read our policy against discrimination and harassment here.
PSI is committed to serving all health consumers with respect, and strives for the highest standards of ethical behavior. PSI is dedicated to complying with the letter and spirit of all laws, regulations and contractual obligations to which it is subject, and to ensuring that all funds with which it is entrusted are used to achieve maximum impact on its programs. PSI provides exceptionally strong financial, operational and program management systems to ensure rigorous internal controls are in place to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse and ensure compliance with the highest standards. Essential to this commitment is protecting the safety and well-being of our program consumers, including the most vulnerable, such as women and children. PSI maintains zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitative acts or threats by our employees, consultants, volunteers or anyone associated with the delivery of our programs and services, and takes seriously all complaints of misconduct brought to our attention.
PSI affirms its commitment to diversity and believes that when people feel respected and included they can be more honest, collaborative and successful. We believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background or religious beliefs. Read our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. Plus, we’ve signed the CREED Pledge for Racial and Ethnic Equity. Learn more.
PSI affirms gender equality is a universal human right and the achievement of it is essential to PSI’s mission. Read about our commitment to gender equality here.