Africa To Launch Its Largest HIV Self-Testing Service

A pilot project seen as the largest effort ever to catalyze HIV self-testing on the African continent and beyond is set to be launched at the forthcoming 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) 2015, scheduled to hold in Harare, Zimbabwe on 29 November to 4 December, 2015, according to Sandy Garcon, Manager, external relations and Communications for Population Services International (PSI).

According to Garcon, PSI, UNITAID- a global health initiative engaged in finding new ways to prevent, treat and diagnose HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, more cheaply and more effectively and the World Health Organisation (WHO) will collaborate in the hosting of the launch of the Self-Testing in Africa (STAR) project at ICASA 2015.

“At the launch, government health officials, affected populations, donors, implementers and researchers will highlight how this pilot project can significantly contribute to scaling-up HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond,” Garcon said.

She added that the launch will be conducted in advance of  the World AIDS Day commemorations commemorated worldwide on the 1st of December annually. The partnering organisations report that the STAR project aims to distribute nearly 750,000 self-testing kits throughout
Southern Africa.

According to the organisations, health ministry officials from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and  the three project implementation countries   will join HIV/AIDS community donors, implementers and
researchers at the launch.

“Speakers will highlight how the evidence gathering from the STAR Project, the largest evaluation of HIV self-testing in Africa to date, can increase the effective use of HIV self-testing at national and
global levels,” Sandy added.

The International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) is a major international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa. Its current biennial hosting alternates between Anglophone and Francophone African countries. The 2015 ICASA will be held in Zimbabwe.

The convening of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA 2015) in  Zimbabwe, in November to December 2015, according to organizers,  represents a tremendous opportunity to highlight the diverse nature of the African region’s HIV epidemic and the unique response to it.   It is expected to be a platform to strengthen collaborative  efforts across all regions and around the world, building on the momentum of recent scientific advances and the momentum from ICASA 2013.

The biennial International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as leaders, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic. It will be a tremendous opportunity for researchers from around the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field, learn from one another’s expertise, and develop strategies for advancing all facets
of  collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

ICASA 2015 is expected to convene at least 10,000 delegates from nearly 150 countries.

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