Film Screening: In Our Hands
LSHTM Film Screening and Introduction to UNITAID-PSI STAR Initiative
Despite concerted efforts towards UNAIDS “90-90-90” HIV testing, treatment and retention targets set for 2020, almost a third of people living with HIV still do not know their status.
Proactive distribution of free HIV self-testing kits is a new approach pioneered in Malawi and evaluated with multiple implementation-research projects under the UNITAID PSI STAR Project 2015-17, and Initiative 2017-20. The Project Phase distributed 485,000 self-test kits in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and catalysed rapid policy and regulatory development, with low and middle-income countries now able to access low-cost quality-assured HIVST kits with donor or government funds. The STAR Initiative includes ambitious scale-up and transition plans in the original three countries, plus South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho.
Wellcome Trust-funded research primed this process, and has also funded “In Our Hands”, a Public Engagement Film showing in six different locations for 2017 World AIDS Day. Villagers were empowered to tell their stories from rural Malawi using participatory film-making.
This LSHTM screening includes preliminary presentations summarising the key findings and achievements under STAR and related projects, with Panel Discussants from LSHTM, PSI and WHO, and donors followed by a Drinks Reception, with all welcome.
“The human is a difficult creature, and will wait to hit zero before going to hospital for a test.” Mrs Harrison, Community Worker & ‘Expert Client’, Chifunga Clinic, Malawi
Visiting a clinic for an HIV test is easy to put off – you may need to book time off work, there is the worry of being recognised by someone you know - and most frightening is the prospect of finding out you are HIV positive.
Now imagine that your nearest clinic is 10 miles away and the only way to get there is by foot. You expect a long queue, exposed to the street for anyone walking past to see.
In Our Hands: A film about HIV self-testing from a community perspective
Poor access to HIV screening services costs lives: the people of Chifunga, Malawi, like many other rural, low resource settings, have experienced this first hand. In this 30 minute community-led documentary, village film-makers draw attention to key social, economic and psychological barriers that have prevented their friends, loved ones, and themselves from going for an HIV test, and document the introduction of HIV self-testing.
In this heartfelt and genuine account villagers discuss how delayed diagnosis has affected their lives. Young people, parents, health workers, men and women, share their views and experiences as they are offered and accept HIV self-testing. Through candid testimonial and video diary they explore the pros and cons of testing in the privacy of your own home.
In Our Hands is a community-led documentary funded by Wellcome Trust and co-produced by Global Health Film initiative, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), and Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Research Programme (MLW) as part of UNITAID PSI STAR (Self-testing in Africa). STAR also includes Population Services International (PSI: Prime), LSHTM (Research Consortium Lead), UCL, LSTM, Country Institutes (MLW, CeSSHAR and ZAMBART), and WHO.