International studies have shown that providing the individuals with the option of learning their HIV status in private, self-testing can be effective in increasing HIV testing numbers by alleviating barriers individuals face in accessing facility-based testing, including fear of stigma and discrimination, perceived lack of confidentiality and inconvenience.
While self-testing offers great potential for more people to be aware of their HIV status, some people raise concerns over:
- Accuracy of the self-test kits
- Linkage to post-test services
- Potential HIV risk behaviour following self-testing
With inadequate support to self-testing users, people may misinterpret the HIV test results and miss the opportunity to be linked to care services, which may result in bad public health consequences. AIDS Concern sees that self-testing has a great potential to increase the uptake of HIV testing, and can play an important role in the HIV cascade of care if it is integrated well with the current healthcare system. We will be advocating for self-testing to be more available in Hong Kong.