HIV oral self-test accurate, preferred testing method in Malawi
BOSTON – Results from a community-based study that assessed the use of an HIV self-test in Malawi indicated a 92% uptake of self-testing and was the preferred testing method for repeat testing in both men and women.
“This is the first study looking at HIV self-testing using oral testing kits in Africa,” Augustine Choko, of the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Program, said during a presentation. “It was very important for us to look at self-testing because HIV testing uptake still remains very unsatisfactory using the current strategies that we have.”
The study cohort included 283 randomly selected participants residing in Blantyre, Malawi; 52% were women, and 61.8% tested for HIV, but only 22.3% within the last year. Three different testing options were offered to participants, including self-testing and immediate confirmatory HIV testing and counseling, standard HIV testing and counseling alone or no testing at all.
Only 18.5% of HIV-positive participants reported previous knowledge of their HIV-status. Of 91.9% who opted to self-test, self-read accuracy was 99.2%. Despite 10% of participants who reported errors with testing and required extra help during self testing due to the inability to take their own mouth swabs and unable to read results, 98.5% of participants said it was “not hard at all to do.”
Further, 98% of participants stated it was “very likely” that they would self-test in the future; 56.4% wanted their next test to be a self-test; and all participants stated they would recommend self-testing to family and friends. Compared with HIV testing and counseling offered by a neighbor (48.2%; P=.001), 94% preferred local distribution of self-test kits.
“Self-testing was very popular and highly accurate, as 92% of randomly selected individuals opted to self-test,” Choko said. – by Ashley DeNyse
For more information:
- Choko A. #42. Presented at: 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; Feb. 27-March 3, 2011; Boston.
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