Global WACh

March 22, 2023

New review of WHO HIV testing guidelines informs effective strategies to increase uptake of testing services

A new systematic review and meta-analysis published in PLOS Medicine informed World Health Organization (WHO) 2019 HIV testing guidelines and assessed the research question, “Which demand creation strategies are effective for enhancing uptake of HIV testing services?” focused on populations globally. HIV testing services (HTS) are the first step in reaching the UNAIDS 95-95-95 goals for HIV management and control. Evaluating the effectiveness of different demand creation interventions to increase uptake of HTS is useful to prioritize limited programmatic resources.

Several Global WACh researchers contributed to the review, which found that several classes of demand creation interventions had important and significant impacts on HIV testing uptake. These included mobilization, couple- and motivation-oriented counseling, peer-led interventions, conditional fixed value incentives, and short message service (SMS) interventions. The authors also found that reduced duration counseling and video-based interventions are an efficient and effective alternative to address staffing shortages.

These findings can allow policymakers to select effective demand creation strategies, prioritize resources efficiently, and de-prioritize less effective strategies for their own countries. The impact of an effective intervention may vary depending on where and how it is implemented; policy decisions should consider setting, feasibility and sustainability, country ownership, and universal health coverage.

Click here to read the full review by contributing authors Anjuli Wagner, Irene Njuguna, Jill Neary, Kendall Lawley, Diana Louden (UW Libraries), Ruchi Tiwari, Wenwen Jiang, Dorothy Mangale, Jaclyn Escudero, Michelle Bulterys, Chloe Waters, Hannah Han, and Alison Drake.