Distribution HIV self-testing kits to improve access to testing in Côte d’Ivoire
- Progress stage
- Oct 2023 to Oct 2025
HIV self-testing is one of the solutions to improve coverage and testing for persons who are hard to reach. This method was adopted in five regions by Côte d'Ivoire from 2018 as part of the ATLAS project led by the NGO Solthis. With FID funding, Solthis proposes to support the scaling-up of self-testing for HIV as part of the National HIV Strategic Plan 2021-25 through technical assistance for the National Programme for the fight againt HIV.
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In Côte d'Ivoire, the HIV epidemic prevalence is approximately 1.8% among people aged 15-49 (UNAIDS 2022). 390,000 adults are living with HIV in Côte d'Ivoire. The epidemic is concentrated within so-called “key” population groups, among which the majority of infections occur (sex workers, men having sex with men, drug users). These population groups, which are the most at risk of infection, are also those with the least access to testing services.
Côte d'Ivoire has adopted a National HIV Strategy Plan 2021–2025 that aims to improve access to HIV testing and prevention services for these key populations as well as for young people, pregnant women and patients with sexually-transmitted infections.
To reach the currently underserved segments of the population, the national strategy supports methods such as HIV self-testing. HIV self-testing could be an opportunity for people who do not want to use traditional health services, and especially key populations and their surroundings, who remain far from care.
This method was tested in Côte d'Ivoire in several regions, including via the ATLAS project implemented by the NGO Solthis and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) from 2018 to 2022. During this period, more than 203,000 kits were distributed mainly using secondary distribution, i.e. redistribution of kits by users in contact with prevention programs in their network. At the same time, research was conducted by a consortium of researchers to collect data on the relevance of the innovation in their context and to guide them for scaling-up.
The National AIDS Plan provides for national scaling-up of self-testing of HIV in relevant health services centers and at community level for priority populations.
In order to achieve the initially-set targets, including free distribution of 610,000 kits in 2025, through the FID-funded project, the NGO Sothis will offer technical assistance to the National AIDS Plan. This includes:
- Co-development of a detailed scaling-up plan
- Mobilization of necessary external financial resources
- Support in effective deployment of HIV self-testing
- Technical support for the National HIV Strategic Plan to track, measure, analyze and assess scale-up and share results
The expected impacts of the project include strengthening the program’s capacities:
- To have a precise deployment plan for the steering and overall coordination of HIV self-testing in the country
- To have the capacity to mobilize resources over the long term and in response to precise objectives and needs
- To measure the results, effects and impact of HIV self-testing
The end goal of the strengthened capacity of the PNLS at the end of this technical assistance process would be to enable Solthis to have successful exit strategy.
Projects funded by FID