About 20 million people do not know that they are living with HIV-infection and scaling up HIV testing is fundamental to the control of HIV-infection. Dr Miriam Taegtmeyer, Reader in Infectious Diseases, and Professor Cowan, are partners on the large HIV Self-Testing Africa project (STAR), led by LSHTM (Professor Liz Corbett) and funded by UNITAID. STAR is evaluating the expansion of HIV self- testing in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Currently self-testing is being conducted using oral fluid samples although work to evaluate blood based tests is starting through additional funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A trial of pricing and willingness to pay is in the advanced stages of planning.
LSTM is responsible for the STAR project’s activities run in Zimbabwe, where Professor Cowan is based, for the social science to understand attitudes and social harms to self-testing (led by Dr Nicola Desmond) and for understanding the pathways for influencing policy and practice (led by Russ Dacombe).