WHO updates HIV testing recommendations

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The WHO has issued new HIV testing recommendations to help countries reach the 8.1 million people living with HIV who are yet to be diagnosed, and therefore are not receiving treatment.

The WHO guidelines are released ahead of World AIDS Day (1 December) and recommend a range of innovative approaches to respond to current needs:

  • All countries are being recommended to adopt a standard HIV testing strategy that uses three consecutive reactive tests to provide an HIV positive diagnosis – previously most high-burden countries used two tests
  • A social network-based HIV testing to reach key populations, who are at high risk but have less access to services is being recommended
  • The WHO is encouraging focused community efforts to deliver rapid testing through lay providers for relevant countries in the South-East Asian, European, Western Pacific and Eastern Mediterranean regions where western blotting is still in use
  • The WHO is recommending the use of self-testing as a gateway to diagnosis
  • Peer-led, innovative digital communications such as short messages and videos to increase the uptake of HIV testing is being recommended
  • The WHO is recommending HIV/syphilis dual rapid tests in antenatal care as the first HIV test to help eliminate mother-to-infant transmission

Rachel Baggaley, WHO’s Team lead for HIV Testing, Prevention and Populations, concluded: “Saving lives from HIV starts with testing. These new recommendations can help countries to accelerate their progress and respond more effectively to the changing nature of their HIV epidemics.”

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Source: www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-11-2019-innovative-who-hiv-testing-recommendations-aim-to-expand-treatment-coverage

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