Legal Issues Surrounding the Distribution of HIV Self-Testing Kits

Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:23 PM
Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation, Southern African AIDS Trust, Arnold & Porter LLP
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One of the key critical success factors in fulfilling the UNAIDS and global goal of zero new HIV infections, zero deaths and zero discrimination, is people knowing their own HIV sero-status and having the ability to act on that knowledge. Yet in eastern and southern Africa, despite decades of investment in HIV testing and counseling, many people still do not know their status. 

HIV self-testing has the potential to be one of the solutions to this problem. However, a myriad of legal complexities surround the distribution of HIV self-testing kits and in many countries HIV self-testing is illegal. For this reason, the Southern African Aids Trust requested legal research to answer key contextual questions that would help them understand the legal frameworks for HIV self-testing pilot projects that might be implemented in the countries where they operate. Such questions include: “Is HIV self-testing legal and, if so, under what conditions?”, “What legislation governs the distribution of HIVST kits and what rules/conditions exist concerning this distribution?” and “What are the human rights issues surrounding HIVST?”

Through TrustLaw, the Southern African AIDS Trust was connected to law firms in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the United States, United Kingdom and France who collaborated to produce this research report pro bono.