Advances in HIV self-testing: Systematic review of current developments and the road ahead in high-burden countries of Africa


OBJECTIVES: Although HIV self-testing technologies have created new opportunities for achieving national and global HIV testing goals, current developments have not been compiled to inform policy and practice, especially in high HIV burden countries of Africa. We aimed to compile and synthesize the evidence about HIV self-testing technologies, strategies, and uptake in the top-10 high HIV burden countries of Africa. METHODS: We searched CINAHL, PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Social Science Citation Index, and EMBASE to include eligible articles published in English between January 2012 and November 2022. RESULTS: In total, 865 articles were retrieved and only 16 studies conducted in five African countries were eligible and included in this review. The two types of HIV self-testing modalities presently being used in Africa are: The first is Home Self-Test which is done entirely at home or in another private location by using oral fluid or blood specimen. The second modality is Mail-In Self-Test (self-sampling), where the user collects their own sample and sends this to a laboratory for testing. Perceived opportunities for the uptake of HIV self-testing were autonomy and self-empowerment, privacy, suitability, creating a chance to test, and simplicity of use. The potential barriers to HIV self-testing included fear and worry of a positive test result, concern of the test results is not reliable, low literacy, and potential psychological and social harms. The oral-fluid self-testing is preferred by most users because it is easy to use, less invasive, and painless. The difficulty of instructions on how to use self-test kits, and the presence of different products of HIV self-testing kits, increase rates of user errors. CONCLUSION: Adopting HIV self-testing by overcoming the challenging potential barriers could enable early detection, care, treatment, and prevention of the disease to achieve the 95-95-95 goal by 2030. Further study is necessary to explore the actual practices related to HIV self-testing among different populations in Africa.


Mekonnen H, Manyazewal T, Kajogoo VD, Getachew Assefa D, Gugsa Bekele J, Tolossa Debela D




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV- population
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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