With the ATLAS project in West Africa, a major innovation as close as possible to the field to achieve the global HIV testing target by 2020.
Knowing your HIV status remains an essential step in accessing treatment and ending the epidemic
On Tuesday 29 January in Dakar, Solthis in partnership with Unitaid, the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and in collaboration with the Ministries of Health of Senegal, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire officially launched the ATLAS project « HIV SelfTest, Free to Access its Status » to reduce HIV-related morbidity and mortality in West Africa.
500,000 HIV self-tests to be distributed to change the face of testing among most-at-risk populations.
Improving access to HIV testing through self-testing is an innovative approach to reaching key populations that are not being reached today but are most at risk and where the epidemic remains concentrated.
This strategy complements existing screening strategies to reach as many people as possible and accelerate the achievement of UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 goals, particularly the first one: « By 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status » in a region where only half (48%) of people living with HIV know their status and therefore cannot access treatment.
« The #ProjetATLAS puts the diversification of self-test distribution channels at the heart of its project to reach key populations that are not being reached today. » President of Renapoc Mali #launch at #Dakar Cc @UNITAID @ird_fr @NGOSolthis
A more comprehensive investment strategy to promote HIV testing in Africa
« ATLAS is part of a more comprehensive investment strategy to promote HIV self-testing in Africa, including West and Central Africa, as a way to achieve high rates of HIV testing, and thus help reverse the epidemic. », said Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of Unitaid.
The 3.5-year ATLAS project will not only distribute 500,000 HIV self-test kits in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal, but will also lay the foundations for the large-scale deployment of this testing strategy by governments and other partners, with the support of institutional, community and research partners.