KAARO KARUNGI | HEALTH – Poorer countries are set to see their access to HIV self-tests increase dramatically following a deal to slash prices in half and boost production, Unitaid said Wednesday.
The international health agency said it had closed a deal with US-based global healthcare company Viatris that will see blood-based HIV self-tests made available for under $2 across 135 low and middle-income countries.
HIV self-tests are seen as vital tools to help people more easily discover their status and move towards the treatment they need, and thus also to reducing the HIV burden globally.
This is particularly relevant in poorer countries, where concerns around stigma and difficulties accessing healthcare can create significant barriers, said Unitaid, which works on innovations on major diseases.
“Access to self-tests has been recognised as a key factor in meeting the global goal of 90% of people knowing their HIV status,” Unitaid spokesman Herve Verhoosel said in a statement.
In just the past six years, that rate has nearly doubled, from 45 to 81 percent, he said.