On October 12, Uganda has become the first country to adopt HIV self-tests procured under the terms of MedAccess’ volume guarantee to Wondfo. With continuous and joint efforts from all sides, we are taking a step forward in ensuring people to know their HIV condition and can have access to treatment.
In 2022, MedAccess, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Wondfo announced an agreement to make Wondfo’s HIV self-test available for $1. The price makes Wondfo’s test the most affordable World Health Organization prequalified HIV self-test on the market.
At an event held yesterday in Kampala, Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health of the Republic of Uganda, welcomed the country’s AIDS Control Programme’s efforts to increase access to testing by adding Wondfo’s test to the country’s HIV self-testing portfolio.
“We welcome efforts by the Uganda Ministry of Health and the country’s AIDS Control Programme to increase access to self-testing for people at risk of HIV,” said Dr Michelle Teo, Chief Investment Officer at MedAccess. “Our guarantees are designed to secure lower prices and enable countries to reach more people, within current budgets, with the health products they need. It is encouraging to see this in action in Uganda and expect other countries to follow soon.”
“Today's event marks not just a product launch, but a commitment from Wondfo. Our HIV Self-Test has earned certifications from both WHO and Uganda Virus Research Institute, ensuring exceptional performance and reliability. We're not merely suppliers; we're dedicated supporters of Uganda's HIV initiatives. Looking ahead, we plan to expand the self-testing kits nationally and regionally, engage in training programs, and collaborate with partners for targeted social campaigns, reaching high-risk groups.” said Leon Lin, General Manager of Wondfo. "Furthermore, we've already initiated technical enhancements. Next year, a more user-friendly self-testing product will be introduced, featuring QR code technology for easy result interpretation via smartphones. This system will aid data collection, facilitating policy-making. We firmly believe in making diagnostic tools more affordable, hence our HIV Self-Test kit is priced at just $1. Partnering with Microheam, we're ensuring local production in Uganda, emphasizing sustainability and reinforcing local manufacturing capabilities. "
By allowing Wondfo HIV Self-Test available at $1, we aim to generate more benefits for people’s health, including:
• Increasing access to HIV testing for priority populations such as men, adolescents, commercial sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people, and men who have sex with men: Globally in 2020, 65 percent of new HIV infections were among people from priority populations and their partners. People from these groups often face stigma, discrimination, and even criminalisation if they seek an HIV test at a clinic. Self-testing can increase access to HIV testing for these groups. They can be distributed by a range of people including health workers, community leaders, peers, and partners, significantly expanding the channels for reaching people at risk.
• Reducing demands on healthcare workers: Distributing HIV self-tests within health facilities can reduce the burden on providers at understaffed clinics. While provider-led testing is and will continue to be a cornerstone of HIV testing, self-tests can significantly increase the efficiency of and access to testing services by reducing the time required per person tested compared to conventional testing.
• Increasing ease of HIV testing: Self-tests are safe, easy to use, and provide accurate results in less than 30 minutes. With expanded HIV self-testing, people will be able to collect HIV self-tests from more and more convenient locations and can then test themselves and read their results in private, when and where they want. This is especially valuable for people at risk of HIV who need more frequent testing as part of HIV prevention programmes. This is timely as WHO releases new guidance on the use of HIV self-testing to support greater access to PrEP services.
Building on the work of governments, Unitaid’s STAR Initiative, PEPFAR, Global Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation’s (CIFF’s) long-standing support for HIV self-testing, it is projected that improved access to self-testing through this volume guarantee will increase testing and treatment coverage, leading to an estimated 8.1 million additional people accessing testing in low- and middle-income countries.