16 July 2021 | News
HCV self-testing kits are likely to be available soon
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New guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) strongly recommend offering self-testing for hepatitis C virus (HCV) as an additional approach to HCV testing services. WHO releases the new guidelines – its first on HCV self-testing.
The new guidelines highlight key considerations for policy-makers, national programmes, providers and implementers of HCV testing services. These considerations for HCV self-testing include designing appropriate and context-specific messages, service delivery models and support tools through engagement with communities; setting up efficient pathways for people who self-test to obtain confirmatory testing and treatment or prevention services; training providers; creating a supportive and enabling policy environment; and using quality-assured products.
To help assure quality, WHO has published technical specifications for prequalification of HCV self-testing products. HCV self-testing kits are likely to be available soon.
“HIV self-testing has been an effective tool in accelerating progress towards achieving global goals, and many country programmes have benefited from the availability of HIV self-testing to support continuity of essential services in the COVID-19 context,” said Dr Meg Doherty, Director of the WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes. “We encourage countries and national programmes to start planning for introduction of HCV self-testing as well, especially for priority populations and regions with the greatest gaps in testing coverage.”