Home self-testing for HIV: AIDS exceptionalism gone wrong

Marlise Richter, W D Francois Venter, Andy Gray


Self-tests for HIV in South Africa are currently unregulated. Gaps in law and policy have created a legal loophole where such tests could effectively be sold in supermarkets, but not in pharmacies. At the same time, South Africa lacks an effective regulating mechanism for diagnostic tests, which brings the quality and reliability of all self- tests into question. The authors argue for greater access to, and availability of, quality HIV self-tests. This strategy will encourage regular HIV-testing, allay fears about stigma and confidentiality when testing in public facilities, and decrease the costs associated with traditional voluntary counselling and testing, and is likely to lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of HIV.

Authors' affiliations

Marlise Richter, International Centre for Reproductive Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ghent University, Belgium and Forced Migration Studies Programme, University of the Witwatersrand

W D Francois Venter, Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand

Andy Gray, Department of Therapeutics and Medicines Management, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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HIV self-test; AIDS exceptionalism

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2010;100(10):636,638,640,642.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-04-18
Date published: 2010-10-01

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