n South African Medical Journal - Issues in public health : home self-testing for HIV : AIDS exceptionalism gone wrong : forum




Self-tests for HIV in South Africa are currently unregulated. Gaps in law and policy have created a legal loophole where such tests could effectively be sold in supermarkets, but not in pharmacies. At the same time, South Africa lacks an effective regulating mechanism for diagnostic tests, which brings the quality and reliability of all self-tests into question. The authors argue for greater access to, and availability of, quality HIV self-tests. This strategy will encourage regular HIV testing, allay fears about stigma and confidentiality when testing in public facilities, and decrease the costs associated with traditional voluntary counselling and testing, and is likely to lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of HIV.


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