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© HIV testing in Mukono World Bank Photo Collection (Arne Hoel)

Your Voice Matters! We seek case studies for the 53rd Thematic Segment on Testing and HIV.

“As we look forward to the next thematic segment, we must continue to ensure the voices of people living with and affected by HIV are positioned front and center as we seek out appropriate multistakeholder efforts which countries, the private sector, and communities can take ownership to prevent new HIV infections effectively. Thus, we sincerely request that you submit a case study for this important thematic segment,” said Christian Hui, MSW, PhD(c) (he/they; Undetectable), the focal point responsible for the upcoming thematic.

The delegation applauded the next PCB Chair, Kenya, for proposing the Thematic Segment topic on “Testing and HIV,” focusing on practical, effective, and sustainable approaches to HIV testing as the gateway to comprehensive, holistic, and differentiated HIV treatment, care, retention, and support services.

“As a person living with HIV with multiple intersecting key priority population identities, I urge civil society colleagues, especially ones supporting people living with HIV and key priority populations globally, regionally, and locally to submit case examples to highlight evidence-informed best practices and innovative, community-led solutions to address systemic and structural gaps facing the most vulnerable and affected communities within the current response,’ emphasized Hui. 

Scope of submissions 

Specifically, UNAIDS is seeking examples of successful interventions focused on testing for HIV, testing for monitoring treatment, and enablers for testing services. As you provide your information, UNAIDS is seeking examples of the following:

  1. Lay workers performing testing for HIV after certified training
  2. Community Engagement in differentiated HIV Testing and linking with services
  3. Facility-based differentiated HIV testing and linking with services
  4. Re-testing as a pathway to re-engagement
  5. Social network testing
  6. Scale up early infant diagnostic and Point of Care Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT)
  7. Retesting for pregnant women
  8. Practical ways of delivering testing services for KPs
  9. Testing for HIV among adolescents
  10. Testing for HIV among men
  11. Viral Load testing planning and implementation
  12. CD4 testing for identification of Advanced HIV Disease
  13. Integration of HIV testing services with other disease programs (including the safety of treatment as well as testing for NCDs)
  14. HIV drug resistance surveillance
  15. Human rights and gender consideration in promoting testing
  16. Age of consent
  17. Financing and sustainability of HIV and testing services
  18. Public Health Laboratory system in improving quality of testing
  19. Procurement and supply chain management for testing

Who can submit?

UNAIDS welcomes submissions from national AIDS programs and similar government institutions; Ministries of Health and other relevant Ministries; civil society organizations, particularly those representing or providing services to key populations; academic institutions; national human rights institutions; United Nations system and other international organizations; and other national or local entities involved in HIV testing.

How will the submissions be used?

The submissions will be used to inform the background note to the UNAIDS 53rd PCB Thematic Segment. Some submissions may also be selected to be presented during the Thematic Day on 14 December 2023. Finally, all the submissions received before the deadline of Friday, 20 October 2023 will be compiled in a document on good practices, which will be posted on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board website.

Submissions are accepted in English and French through the below online forms by the close of business on Friday, 20 October 2023.

Civil Society Advisory Group provided valuable feedback

Based on the Delegation’s first meeting with a diverse Civil Society Advisory Group on October 4, 2023, members highlighted the importance of ensuring there are differentiated, culturally safe, and community-led approaches to comprehensive HIV testing and linkage to treatment, care, and support. 

The latest Global AIDS Update 2023 notes that men in Africa and pediatric HIV testing require specific attention, while young women and girls and key priority populations are faced hindered by disabling laws and environments that hinder access to HIV testing prevention, treatment, and care. Rates of people living with HIV who are tested know their status remains the lowest in the EECA, Middle East, and North Africa, as well as the Asia-Pacific regions.

“While we have official aggregate, population-level data that provides us with a snapshot of various key populations or regions that require concerted efforts to ramp up HIV, HIV/HCV, or HIV/STI testing, we currently lack data and funding from many communities from priority population groups such as Indigenous Peoples, People who have experienced incarceration, Migrants, and People on the move, People in Humanitarian Settings. As such, it would be especially helpful if civil society can submit a range of case studies that spotlight some of the most marginalized and oppressed communities who continue to be left behind in the response.”

With the announcement of the new WHO Policy Brief, The Role of Viral Suppression in Improving Individual Health and Reducing Transmission at IAS2023, with updated definitions of viral suppression (less than 1,000 copies/ml) and undetectability via WHO-approved viral load diagnostics (plasma or dried-blood spot), all stakeholders of the response now have an opportunity to not only focus on HIV testing (such as HIV self-testing) from the prevention side but also on the treatment and care continuum.

While the PCB Thematic will primarily focus on the policy aspects of the topic of Testing and HIV, CASG members also noted the importance of highlighting the submission of case studies that can provide innovative, sustainable, cross-platform community-led solutions to ensure the meeting of the global targets are centered around human rights and universal access through ending persistent structural and systemic inequalities.

“While UNAIDS as the leading global policy body and the WHO have supported policy actors and decision-makers with global guidelines on testing, prevention, treatment, and viral suppression, and the Global Fund and PEPFAR as the primary funding mechanisms of interventions, UNITAID as the evidence-informed, technical body has supported demand creation on proven community-led interventions on the widened access to viral load diagnostics across various lower-income countries,” added Hui, one of the new delegates of the Communities Delegation to the UNITAID Board. 

By Christian Hui
Past NGO Delegate of North America
Christian Hui NGO Delegation

Blog | 5 October 2023

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Our NGO Delegation

The Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) was created to serve as the governing body of UNAIDS. The PCB includes a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) Delegation composed of five members and five alternates that represent five geographic regions: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.

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UNAIDS and the UN

UNAIDS was established in 1994 through a resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and made operational in January 1996.

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