Despite concerted efforts towards UNAIDS “90-90-90” HIV testing, treatment and retention targets set for 2020, almost a third of people living with HIV still do not know their status.
Proactive distribution of free HIV self-testing kits is a new approach pioneered in Malawi and evaluated with multiple implementation-research projects under the UNITAID PSI STAR Project 2015-17, and Initiative 2017-20. The Project Phase distributed 485,000 self-test kits in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and catalysed rapid policy and regulatory development, with low and middle-income countries now able to access low-cost quality-assured HIVST kits with donor or government funds. The STAR Initiative includes ambitious scale-up and transition plans in the original three countries, plus South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho.
“The human is a difficult creature, and will wait to hit zero before going to hospital for a test.” Mrs Harrison, Community Worker & ‘Expert Client’, Chifunga Clinic, Malawi.
In this heartfelt and genuine account villagers discuss how delayed diagnosis has affected their lives. Young people, parents, health workers, men and women, share their views and experiences as they are offered and accept HIV self-testing. Through candid testimonial and video diary they explore the pros and cons of testing in the privacy of your own home.
In Our Hands is a community-led documentary funded by Wellcome Trust and co-produced by Global Health Film initiative, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), and Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Research Programme (MLW) as part of UNITAID PSI STAR (Self-testing in Africa). STAR also includes Population Services International (PSI: Prime), LSHTM (Research Consortium Lead), UCL, LSTM, Country Institutes (MLW, CeSSHAR and ZAMBART), and WHO.