Self-testing for HIV gives patients power over their health in Eswatini

Eswatini 2021 © MSF

Eswatini has the highest prevalence of HIV of any country in the world. The fear and stigma around the disease is high, so Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) implemented home self-testing for HIV.

"What I like about self-testing is that it gives you the freedom to know your HIV status without anyone else knowing and without going to the hospital," says Thoko, an MSF patient. People come for initial testing at our clinic and, if they test negative, they are given self-testing kits to use at home.

"We really encourage women to continue testing for HIV so that they always know their status," says MSF counselor Nombulelo Ndlovu. "This will ensure that even if they are still HIV negative, they are able to continue to protect themselves and remain negative. If they happen to receive a positive result, we assure them that life goes on. All that they need to do is to go to the nearest clinic where they will get all the necessary assistance and be able to start ARV (antiretroviral) treatment."