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AIDS 2016: Market Constraints and Uncertainties May Limit Scale-Up of HIV Self-Testing

There are 4 different HIV self-test products now manufactured and approved for sale in the U.S. and Europe, with a further 9 in the pipeline, but uncertainties about the level of demand and the prices that will be paid are limiting manufacturers’ interest in bringing products to market. Moreover, while self-testing may have the greatest potential in sub-Saharan Africa, the fragmented regulatory environment there could hamper scale-up in the region, Petra Stankard of Populations Services International said at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) last month in Durban.

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AIDS 2016: Access to Home Testing Doubles Frequency of HIV Testing Among Australian Gay Men

A randomized trial conducted with Australian gay men has shown that easy access to self-testing kits can double the frequency with which men test for HIV, with an even greater increase among men who used to test infrequently, Muhammad Jamil of the Kirby Institute reported at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) last month in Durban.

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Opt-Out HIV, HBV, and HCV Testing in Emergency Departments Identifies Many New Infections

A week-long pilot study involving 9 U.K. emergency departments has shown that routine opt-out testing for HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can identify a significant number of previously undiagnosed infections, according to study results published in the March edition of HIV Medicine.

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June 27 Is National HIV Testing Day

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (#NHTD), an opportunity to promote HIV screening and awareness of its importance as a gateway to the continuum of care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 8 of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV do not know they are infected, putting their long-term health at risk.

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CROI 2016: Partner Notification of HIV Status Is Feasible and Effective In African Settings

Partner notification programs, offering testing to the sexual partners of people newly diagnosed with HIV, have rarely been implemented in African countries, but can be highly effective there, studies presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016)show. A randomized study in Kenya found that partner notification services were able to test 42% of partners mentioned, increasing testing rates 4-fold.

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Diagnosis of Early HIV Infections May Have Contributed to Fall in Incidence in San Diego

An HIV testing program targeting individuals with acute or early infection likely contributed to a decline in incident or new infections in San Diego after 2008, investigators report in the May 11 online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Early Test initiative involved negative HIV antibody tests being rescreened using nucleic acid testing (NAT) -- a technique capable of detecting new HIV infections within 7-10 days after exposure.

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CROI 2016: HIV Home Testing During Pregnancy Doubles Male Partners Who Test

A program of home visits, partner education, and HIV testing for couples in Kenya was able to double the proportion of men who tested during their partner’s pregnancy, Carey Farquhar from the University of Washington reported at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) in Boston last week. Partners became aware of each other’s HIV status without this being linked to an increase in intimate partner violence.

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BHIVA 2016: First Data on Uptake of HIV Self-Testing in the U.K.

Between April 2015 and February 2016, almost 28,000 people have paid £29.95 (about US$45) for a kit allowing them to test for HIV at home, according to a presentation at the recent British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference in Manchester. Marketing on Grindr has been important in driving sales, which have been concentrated in non-urban areas.

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IAS 2015: HIV Self-Testing May Help "Hard to Reach" Learn Their Status, but Uncertainties Remain

HIV self-testing (or home testing) is likely to have an important place in future global HIV strategies, but at the moment there are significant gaps in the evidence base of how it may best be made available, to which populations, and with what kind of support. So while the World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly signaled its enthusiasm for the approach, its new guidance on HIV testing, launched at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention last month in Vancouver, reviews what we know so far about self-testing but does not actually recommend it. Several self-testing studies were also presented at the conference.

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