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HIV self-testing: moving from products to policies to programmes

In December 2016, the World Health Organisation released its Normative Guidance for HIV Self-Testing and Partner Notification services. Countries are currently grappling with operationalizing these guidance policies. In South Africa, the scale of the HIV epidemic is unprecedented, and HIV Self-Testing has the potential to be a supplementary strategy that can be employed to close the significant testing gap. Mohammed Majam and Prof Francois Venter of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, have set up a programme that aims to answer critical research questions that their National Department of Health requires to inform programmatic implementation of this modality.

Mohammed Majam is the Technical Head of HIV Self-Testing at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Research Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an experienced researcher with a laboratory medicine background who has headed several multi-centre randomised controlled clinical trials at the Institute focussing on Antiretroviral Drug Dosage Optimisation. Mohammed took over the HIVST portfolio at Wits RHI in 2014 and has spear-headed the programme which is primarily assessing a variety of prospective test kits in the hands of untrained users. He chairs the South African HIV Clinicians Societies HIVST Technical Working Group and is leading the engagement with various facets of the National Department of Health. Mohammed completed his MBA in 2016 with his dissertation focussing on the market entry barriers for HIVST in South Africa. His current research focuses on the performance evaluation and optimization of prospective HIV Self-test products in the South African market.

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