As part of its contribution to the MenStar Coalition, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) has announced an investment of USD 25 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS dedicated to scaling HIV self-testing.
Countries, including Uganda will be able to apply for a portion of the funds to support self-testing. The CIFF announced the contribution at the Global Fund Replenishment Summit held in Lyon France.
“CIFF is championing HIV self-testing and other methods to promote self-care as one of the most powerful ways for youth, women and men to take control of their sexual & reproductive health. People deserve the choice to test when they want, where they want and how they want. As such, we want to raise awareness of the investment and encourage Sub-Sahara governments to apply.” Said Miles Kemplay, Executive Director for Adolescence at CIFF.
CIFF believes the impact of self-testing may be greatest in Sub-Sahara Africa, which has the largest number of people living with HIV who do not know their status. In Uganda, there are 1.4 million people living with HIV, with women and young women in particular being disproportionately affected.
In addition, there were 53,000 new infections in 2018. While there have been increased efforts to scale up treatment initiatives, there are still many people living with HIV who not only do not have access to the medicines but also struggle with the stigma associated with the disease. Improving the uptake of HIV self-testing among individuals who require confidentiality or who do not trust healthcare workers is therefore imperative.
The CIFF – Global Fund partnership is designed to increase funding for country programs that have ambitious HIV self-testing goals as well as put supportive policies in place for people to easily access self-tests.
Peter Sands the Executive Director of the Global Fund said, “By accelerating access to HIV self-testing, we can get closer to controlling HIV as a public health threat. More people will know their status so that those with HIV can start treatment while those who are negative can access prevention services.”