HIV Self-Testing Found Safe and Acceptable in Community Setting Interview with:
Augustine T. Choko MSc
Malawi–Liverpool–Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme
Blantyre, Malawi

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite rapid scale up of HIV testing in the sub Saharan African region, half of people living with HIV are unware of their status. We investigated a novel approach of HIV self testing as an additional strategy to existing HIV testing options.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: Population uptake of HIV self testing was high at the first offer and remained high at the second offer 12 months later. The approach saw high numbers of adolescents and men testing.

Community participants with 8% illiterate were able to do the test and correctly interpret it on their own with minimal training.

People who self-tested positive were able to link into the clinic for antiretroviral therapy eligibility assessment.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: HIV self testing offered in the community was highly acceptable, was correctly conducted and did not lead to major negative events.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: More work around interventions for increasing linkage into care or prevention such as voluntary male medical circumcision.

Research around the effectiveness of HIV self testing in increasing the uptake of HIV testing among key populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men.


Augustine T. Choko, Peter MacPherson, Emily L. Webb, Barbara A. Willey, Helena Feasy, Rodrick Sambakunsi, Aaron Mdolo, Simon D. Makombe, Nicola Desmond, Richard Hayes, Hendramoorthy Maheswaran, Elizabeth L. Corbett. Uptake, Accuracy, Safety, and Linkage into Care over Two Years of Promoting Annual Self-Testing for HIV in Blantyre, Malawi: A Community-Based Prospective Study. PLOS Medicine, 2015; 12 (9): e1001873 DOI: 1371/journal.pmed.1001873
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Augustine T. Choko MSc (2015). HIV Self-Testing Found Safe and Acceptable in Community Setting

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