“Unitaid today announces significant market expansion and a price reduction of around 50%. Thanks to an agreement with Viatris, self-tests for HIV using blood samples will be made available for less than $ 2 l ‘unity in 135 eligible countries “, underlined Hervé Verhoosel, spokesperson for Unitaid in Geneva.

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Screening, an essential issue

The ultimate goal is to enable the eight million people believed to not know their HIV status to learn if they are HIV positive and to receive treatment, according to Unitaid.

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“Access to self-testing is a critical factor in achieving the global goal of ensuring that 90% of people infected with HIV know their HIV status,” he said, adding that during over the past six years, this percentage has already fallen from 45% to 81%.

The market for self-testing in these countries has improved since Unitaid began investing in it in 2015, but it has so far been dominated by a single, affordable self-test model – with the other options costing at least $ 1. dollar more, says the organization.

Reach a new population

For Dr Thato Chidarikire, director of HIV prevention strategies in the South African National Directorate of Health, the self-tests have had a “positive effect” on the HIV program by making it “possible to reach men. and women aged 19 to 24 as well as the main target population groups “.

The lower prices “will translate into higher quantities and the expansion of our program, which will allow us to reach more people who are untested and unwilling to be tested,” she said.

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This self-test, as well as another device using a blood sample, “will thus form the basis of a program to expand access to tests launched by Unitaid. Within this framework, around 1 million tests will be distributed to stimulate demand. interior of eligible countries, ”emphasizes the organization.