Prevention in Focus

Spring 2021 

Resources on HIV self-testing

By Erica Lee

The INSTI HIV Self Test was licensed by Health Canada in November 2020. It is the first HIV self-test to be licensed in Canada and provides an exciting new option for HIV testing.

Do you have questions about HIV self-testing? Check out these resources to learn more about HIV self-testing and how to address it in your programs.

What is HIV self-testing and how does it work?

These resources review the basics of HIV-self testing, including how self-tests work and key facts about self-tests such as their accuracy, acceptability and uptake.

HIV self-testing
CATIE

This fact sheet explains the steps in the HIV self-test process and examines test accuracy, ease of use and acceptability, as well as how service providers can support people interested in self-testing.

Health Canada licenses HIV self-testing
CATIE

This CATIE News article provides a general overview of HIV self-testing, including test use and accuracy, potential challenges to implementing self-testing and implications for service providers as the self-test becomes available across the country.

INSTI® HIV Self Test licensing announcement key messages: HIV self-testing
REACH 3.0, CANFAR, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions 

This document provides seven key messages to help communicate key points about HIV self-testing.

The acceptability and use of HIV self-testing among men who have sex with men in high-income countries
Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN)

This literature review looks at the perceptions of HIV self-testing among gay and bisexual men who have sex with men, their willingness to use HIV self-tests and the uptake of HIV self-testing in this group.

Backgrounder: INSTI HIV Self Test clinical study findings
REACH 3.0, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions

This document summarizes the findings of a study conducted in Toronto, Winnipeg and Montreal on the performance, acceptance and usability of the INSTI HIV Self Test.

What resources are available for test users?

INSTI HIV self-test training video
bioLytical

This video from the test manufacturer shows how to perform the INSTI HIV Self Test.

How can service providers address HIV self-testing in programs and services?

These resources will help service providers think about how they can support individuals interested in HIV self-testing or how they could implement HIV self-testing in their programs and services. 

HIV self-testing: Learning from international program models to increase testing
CATIE 

This article reviews some program models that have expanded the use of HIV self-testing into diverse settings to reach diverse target populations.

What are the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing HIV self-testing in Canada?
CATIE 

This article summarizes a literature review that examines the challenges and opportunities associated with HIV self-testing as well as evidence on potential solutions that may help us to better implement HIV self-testing in Canada.

Free HIV self-testing: Best practices, positivity rates, and associated costs
Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN)

This literature review looks at the various approaches to providing free HIV self-testing to reach different populations, the program costs associated with providing free HIV self-testing and the positivity rates for HIV self-testing.

Testing for HIV at home: How Ottawa is piloting self-testing
CATIE blog

This post from the CATIE blog profiles GetaKit, a mail-out HIV self-test kit distribution service. GetaKit is an Ottawa-based research project that was started before HIV self-testing was approved in Canada.

Peer distribution of HIV self-test kits
CATIE

This evidence brief reviews an HIV self-testing program in Uganda that trained men who have sex with men to distribute HIV self-tests to their social and sexual networks. The program included training on how to use the HIV self-test, counsel people who take the test, and link people who tested positive to HIV confirmatory testing and HIV treatment. 

The HIV self-testing webpage on CATIE’s website also contains resources to help frontline service providers learn more about HIV self-testing. This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.

About the author(s)

Erica Lee is CATIE’s manager, website content and evaluation the information and evaluation specialist at CATIE. Since earning her Master of Information Studies, Erica has worked in the health library field, supporting the information needs of frontline service providers and service users. Before joining CATIE, Erica worked as the Librarian at the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).