11 Oct 2019

CIFF announces a partnership with the Global Fund to catalyse a major increase in access to HIV self-testing

10 October 2019, Lyon:  As part of its contribution to the MenStar Coalition, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) today announced an investment of USD 25 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, dedicated to scaling HIV self-testing.

CIFF announced the contribution at the Global Fund Replenishment Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Lyon.

“CIFF is championing HIV self-testing and other methods to promote self-care as one of the most powerful ways for youth, women and men to take control of their sexual & reproductive health,” said Miles Kemplay, Executive Director for Adolescence at CIFF. “People deserve the choice to test when they want, where they want and how they want.”

The impact of self-testing may be greatest in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the largest number of people living with HIV who do not know their status.  Paulyne Chemeli, a Nairobi pharmacist stated that distributing self-test kits is: “improving the uptake of HIV testing among individuals who require confidentiality or who do not trust healthcare workers. Thanks to HIV self-testing, we now have more male clients and we encourage them to take at least two self-testing kits, including one for their partner.”

HIV self-testThe CIFF – Global Fund partnership is designed to increase funding for country programs that have ambitious HIV self-testing goals as well as put supportive policies in place for people to easily access self-tests.“We applaud CIFF’s investment as there is an urgent need to engage people who would not normally test in traditional settings. Self-testing is innovative and seeks to break the cycle of HIV transmission, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “By accelerating access to HIV self-testing, we can get closer to controlling HIV as a public health threat. More people will know their status so that those with HIV can start treatment while those who are negative can access prevention services.”

This investment will contribute significantly to scaling up the pioneering progress of the Unitaid-funded Self Testing in Africa (STAR) Initiative and was supported through partnership with the World Health Organization which, in addition to developing normative and implementation guidance on HIV self-testing, produced country-specific investment cases to guide and optimize partner investments. Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, WHO stated: “HIV self-testing is an innovative tool that enables people to take initiative, empowering them to find out their HIV status without delay. WHO commends our partners, CIFF and the Global Fund for making this major new investment today. This will help millions more people to access HIV self-testing through national programmes.”

HIV self-test 2CIFF is increasing its commitment to promoting self-testing under the MenStar Coalition, which was launched at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam with the goal to place an additional one million men on treatment, protecting their health and that of their partners:

It’s crucial that we reach young men in discreet ways to break the cycle of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. We launched the MenStar Coalition with the Duke of Sussex last year and one of our pioneer initiatives in collaboration with CIFF, Unitaid is a self-testing campaign in Kenya so more men can find out their status. We are proud to call CIFF a partner  and today, I want to congratulate them on their increased contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.” Sir Elton John, musician and founder of Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Beyond its support to the Global Fund, CIFF continues to invest in lowering the cost of self-tests, testing alternative distribution channels and funding education and promotional activities in partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Unitaid. This contribution is CIFF’s latest milestone in its broader effort to increase young people’s access to healthcare services.

To learn more, visit: https://ciff.org/priorities/adolescence/