The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Unitaid, and local partners have funded a campaign to persuade young people in Kenya to screen for HIV and get treatment if they test positive.
Mounting evidence shows that men, especially those in their twenties and thirties, are not accessing HIV testing and treatment in nearly high enough numbers, putting their own health at risk and fueling the spread of the virus among adolescent girls and young women.
Kenya is set to become the third largest HIV self-testing market in sub-Saharan Africa and was also one of the first countries to adopt a national policy embracing the approach.
Unitaid’s pioneering investments in HIV self-testing in Southern Africa – the Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative – have produced strong evidence that self-testing is a highly effective and accessible way for young people to find out their status.
CIFF, EJAF and Unitaid have now introduced self-testing in West Africa.
The initiative springs from the MenStar Coalition and will tap into the best available marketing strategies to reach many more people at risk and persuade them to screen for HIV using self-testing kits.
Persuading young Kenyan men to use HIV self-testing kits is important to boost demand and sustain affordable prices in the region and beyond. The Challenge Fund will develop and implement creative marketing strategies that can be adapted and replicated in other countries, creating a ripple effect.
The project has three objectives:
- Optimize distribution and linkage models in the public and private sector that increase uptake of HIVST among at-risk men ages 20-34 years.
- Create a sustainable supply of HIVST kits that are conveniently available and accessible for those in need.
- Create an enabling environment for HIVST scale up and sustainability.