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First South African HIV self-testing symposium

Sa Symposium 2017

The 1st South African HIV Self-Testing Symposium was held between 31st May and 1st June 2017 at the Crowne Plaza in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting, which was hosted by the National Department of Health (NDOH) was co-chaired by Dr Thato Chidarikire, Director of HIV Prevention at the NDOH and Professor Francois Venter, Deputy Executive Director at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI). The symposium was organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wits RHI. The meeting brought together 94 delegates from various sectors of the industry, including Policy, Regulatory, Civil Society, Donors, Academia and various Research groups.

Goals of the Symposium included the presentation of the South African HIVST landscape to all stakeholders including the recently launched HIVST Guidelines from the SA HIV Clinicians Society, the communication of the status of efforts concerning HIVST throughout SA and to connect parties to one another to collaborate or divide overlapping efforts. The meeting also sought to determine the status of the process towards public health implementation of HIVST, including the decision making processes, to discover the knowledge gaps and to assess how the stakeholders present may assist. Important consideration was given to how HIVST could aid in the effort to the “first 90” including identification of untested populations, barriers to testing, potential solutions, and development of a framework to assess impact.

Overall, the meeting was lauded as a success and has paved the way for the formation of a NDOH lead Technical Working Group on HIVST for South Africa. 

Posted: 8 June 2017