HIV-AIDS self-test: Côte d’Ivoire is committed to continuing the strategy despite the demise of the Atlas project

Those involved in the fight against HIV are satisfied with the self-test strategy

The Atlas self-screening project, launched in Côte d’Ivoire in 2018 to support the screening of people living with HIV/AIDS, has come to an end. During an advisory and final workshop organized in Abidjan on Friday, April 22, 2022, the National Program to Combat AIDS (PNLS) and its partner Solthis unanimously recognized the effectiveness of this project, which has made it possible to increase the detection rate to lower substantially.

This workshop, which brought together stakeholders in the fight against AIDS in Côte d’Ivoire, made it possible validate the recommendations resulting from the Atlas experiences and thus guarantee the long-term availability of the self-test HIV now fully integrated into the national testing strategy.

To this end, Dr. Kouamé Blaise, Head of the Screening Service of the National AIDS Control Program (PNLS), on behalf of Coordinating Director Pr Ehui Eboi, that Côte d’Ivoire is committed to eliminating HIV AIDS by 2030 through UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.

“It is evident that achieving these goals requires identifying people who are infected with HIV. As early as 2016, we realized that the screening strategy The conventional method failed to reach a large number of infected people. We have therefore introduced voluntary screening as a complementary strategy to be able to achieve our goals by 2030. With that in mind, we welcomed the arrival of the Atlas project in 2018,” he explained. He said he was satisfied with the results achieved as Côte d’Ivoire is responsible for providing most of the self-tests and we can assess the impact of this strategy.

He said that although the Atlas project is over, the strategy will continue to be applied with the support of the Ivorian Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Care.

For her part, Ms. Brigitte Quenum, UNAIDS Country Director, stated that the The first objective of the 90-90-90 is the essential entry point to engage and retain the population with care and treatment. For them, in Côte d’Ivoire, with a rate of 58%, we were far from achieving that goal. “In the context of an epidemic, we had to change strategy and to essential to increase and improve the availability of screening for people living with HIV. There was an urgent need to reach hard-to-reach populations,” she said. And to add that self-tests are an additional strategy, a guarantee of reliability and confidentiality. She congratulated all the actors who made the project a success.

Note that since 2019, the Atlas project has provided 203,407 self-test kits to vulnerable populations in Côte d’Ivoire. and that it was possible to maintain access to knowledge of one’s serological status in 2020 during the first wave of Covid 19. It has been established with more than 30 partners in 3 countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal) and 13 covered regions.

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