HIV self-testing in Iran: first implementation and feasibility study
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Iranian Research Center for HIV/AIDS, Iranian Institute for Reduction of High-Risk Behaviors, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Submission date: 2020-11-01
Final revision date: 2021-04-28
Acceptance date: 2021-04-28
Publication date: 2023-01-19
HIV & AIDS Review 2023;22(1):70-76
A vast group of people carrying human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is unaware of their HIV status. HIV self-testing (HIVST) is a key tool to achieve better expanding of testing by helping patients to be identified, but it faces its’ challenges, which need to be carefully discussed. We aimed to introduce and debate the best options and strategies required to maximize the benefits of HIVST in Iran.

Material and methods:
The authors investigated the above-mentioned question based on a review of 32 articles published between 2007 and 2018 on HIVST. Moreover, focus group discussions (FGDs) and interviews were conducted within 20 people from key populations, with six experts involved.

A road map for actualizing HIVST program can be characterized in three major steps, which include: 1) HIVST training and preparing each component by healthcare team; 2) HIVST-assisted and facility-based programs in selected centers, in the presence of supportive consultant assisting each tested person; 3) public access to HIVST kits through pharmacies, internet, and cyberspace.

It seems that the dangers and detriments of HIVST are extremely constrained in compa­rison with its’ advantages. Overall, it can be considered as a feasible and effective approach in achieving the goal of identifying an increasing number of potential HIV-positive patients and support healthcare system.

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