- Organisation: Alliance for Public Health (APH) Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia
- Stage of innovation: Stage 5: Market ready
- Start date: 2017
- End date: Ongoing
- Type of innovation: Service innovation: new or improved service
- Budget: US$345,000
- Funder: USAID
Summary of intervention
HIV-related stigma stops many people from testing for HIV. This is one of the main reasons why millions of people living with HIV are not on the lifesaving treatment they need. HIV self-testing, a screen for HIV that people can do themselves, is a recent development that means people can take an initial test in private.
HIV self-test kits can be bought in many Ukraine pharmacies and online. But additional promotion and education is needed to make HIV self-testing an easy and regular practice among people at heightened risk of HIV.
At the end of 2017, APH launched a national media campaign promoting HIV self-testing, linked to a self-testing website it has developed: www.selftest.org.ua. The website gives simple, friendly guidance on how to use any kind of available self-testing kit. It also shows people where self-tests can be bought (or conducted if required). The website was developed using USAID funding and has received favourable feedback from CDC.
Finding IT specialists within budget is challenging and it took APH longer than expected to set up the website. The website was not launched as planned on World AIDS Day but on St. Valentine’s Day. Delaying allowed APH to complete all required tasks and better prepare for the promotional campaign.
- The website needs further development to take it to full scale. This includes promoting the website on social media, developing personal risk assessment bots, improving the site’s feedback mechanism and adding additional services, such as mapping to show people where to confirm screen results.
- Additional functionality will be added to track data on HIV testing, case finding, and self-test kit sale (possibly using QR codes).
- APH is ready to share its experience in developing this resource with Frontline AIDS partners and beyond to create collaborative products that can support particular HIV testing needs in different countries.
The website does not need funding to support day-to-day running costs but investment for the development work is needed. As the website’s reach grows it will become increasingly appealing to self-test kit makers and pharmacies; APH plans to approach both to co-fund development.