The Call to Get More Men Tested for HIV: A Perspective on What Policy Makers Need to Know for Implementing and Scaling up HIV Self-Testing in Rwanda

  •  Tafadzwa Dzinamarira    


Various reports by the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS have indicated that, in 2017, only 75% of individuals who were living with HIV across the globe were aware of their HIV status. This calls for targeted interventions to ensure that more people get tested. To this end, different measures should be adopted to increase the uptake of HIV testing services, especially for populations with limited access, as well as those who are at higher risk and would otherwise not get tested, such as men. While HIV self-testing (HIVST) is a highly effective tool that can be used to increase the uptake of testing among men, various challenges are still being faced. The perspective herein examines the challenges being faced in Rwanda and recommends some key measures that can be put in place to ensure that these challenges are addressed effectively and efficiently. In this perspective, the author proposes several notable strategies that policy makers in Rwanda should consider for the effective implementation of HIVST programs: developing health education programs that aim to increase awareness among men; improving the usability of HIVST kits; establishing strategic distribution points for HIVST kits, such as distribution in communities and at voluntary male medical circumcision sites, as well as online purchasing options; and ensuring that there is a highly supportive climate that is conducive to successful implementation.

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