A Global Review of HIV Self-testing: Themes and Implications

AIDS Behav. 2018 Feb;22(2):497-512. doi: 10.1007/s10461-017-1707-8.


HIV self-test kits may have the potential to increase testing rates around the globe, and thereby lead to reductions in HIV-related incidence and mortality. However, the effectiveness of these self-test kits and the issues surrounding self-testing have been greatly debated in recent years. We conducted a literature review on the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of HIV self-testing (HST) around the world. Of the 28 articles abstracted, several themes of HST were explored, including behavioral risk compensation, presence of counseling, uses of HST, ability to perform the self-test, sensitivity and specificity, concordance with confirmatory testing, perceptions surrounding HST, instruction and supervision, and cost. Overall, this literature review found that this diverse group of participants generally performed HST correctly with a few exceptions, were accepting of the test if available at a relatively low cost, and preferred the oral-based HST over the blood-based test.

Keywords: Acceptability; Blood self-test; HIV self-testing; Oral self-test; Perceptions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / methods*
  • Counseling
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Self Care
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic