WHO releases new toolkit to support quality HIV testing services

23 November 2021

Article: 55/4708

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new toolkit to support countries in their efforts to adopt WHO guidelines and transition to new HIV testing algorithms.

In 2019, in response to changing epidemiology, the WHO recommended countries adopt a standard HIV testing strategy, with three consecutive reactive tests for an HIV-positive diagnosis to ensure quality services as countries move towards achieving the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets. The guidance also highlighted the need to introduce dual HIV and syphilis rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), and to phase out older testing technologies, including western blotting methods.

Many countries have since adopted this guidance and in the WHO African Region, compliance to HIV testing strategies increased from 8% in 2014, to 71% in 2021. However, more than a dozen countries are using western blotting methods, which hinder same day diagnoses and immediate access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Additionally, many settings have yet to fully transition to the WHO’s recommended testing strategy or integrate dual HIV and syphilis RDTs into testing algorithms for pregnant women and key populations.

Source: WHO, 16 November 2021