The Benefits of Introducing at-Home Testing for HIV in Indonesia

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The growth of HIV cases in Indonesia is one of the most rapid ones among the countries in Asia (UNAIDS 2013). Indonesia’s Ministry of Health estimates that more than 500.000 people in Indonesia will become infected with HIV in 2014 unless there is an acceleration of HIV prevention programs (UNICEF Indonesia 2012). In Indonesia, the testing of HIV currently is done in voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) clinics in selected hospitals. The patients are required to visit the clinic to do the testing and counseling. VCT has been shown to have a role in both HIV prevention and as an entry point to treatment (UNAIDS 2000). This program has been one of the most important parts of national strategic plan to prevent and control HIV in Indonesia (Afriandi et al 2009). However, there has been an idea for at-home HIV testing for a long time (Whellams 2008; Wright et al. 2006). At-home testing for HIV is supposed to reduce the number of individuals which are unaware that they are infected with HIV. In July 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of the first rapid home testing kit in the USA (Food and Drug Administration 2012). Interestingly, there have been many pros and cons about this testing (Arnold 2012; Whellams 2008; Wright and Katz 2006; Sibbald 2000). This paper will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the introduction of an HIV home testing kit in Indonesia and argue that such a kit would be beneficial for high risk populations in Indonesia.

The main objection for allowing at home HIV testing to be sold in Indonesia concerns the lack of counseling part in self testing. It is feared by some experts that there would be some detrimental effects caused by the absence of direct counseling before and af...

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...l 39, no. 1, pp. 64-70.
UNAIDS. 2000, Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) : UNAIDS technical update, UNAIDS, Geneva, Switzerland.
UNAIDS. 2013, Global Report: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2013, Joint United Nations Programmes on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Geneva, Switzerland.
UNICEF Indonesia. 2012, Issue Briefs: Responding to HIV and AIDS, UNICEF.
Ventuneac, A., Carballo-Diéguez, A., Leu, CS., Levin, B., Bauermeister, J., Woodman-Maynard, E., Giguere, R. 2009, Use of a rapid HIV home test to screen sexual partners: an evaluation of its possible use and relative risk, AIDS Behav, vol. 13, pp. 731-737.
Whellams, M. 2008, The approval of over-the-counter HIV tests: playing fair when making rules, Journal of Business Ethics, vol 77, pp. 5-15.
Wright, A.A., Katz, I.T. 2006, Home testing for HIV, The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 354, no. 5, pp. 437-440.

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