HIV home testing – a problem or part of the solution?

Jillian Gardner


In April 2010, South Africa launched an HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign that, among other things, sought to massively increase the numbers of people who test, know their HIV status and receive treatment. This is in line with the goals laid out in the country’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Tuberculosis, which aims to significantly reduce the number of new infections and expand access to appropriate treatment, care and support to people diagnosed with HIV.

The realisation of the NSP goals requires strategies that lead to a greater number of individuals getting tested. This article has one simple objective – to stimulate discussion and debate on the topic of HIV home testing, which the author postulates may be preferable to some people, largely because it enables individuals to perform some or all aspects of the test in locations chosen by them. In this way home testing has the benefit of potentially increasing the number of people who test, know their HIV status and consequently present for treatment. The article considers whether some of the reasons that are usually offered against this approach to counselling and testing are sufficiently justified in the South African context, and suggests that these reasons are not sufficiently justified and that this system of HIV testing could contribute towards achieving the goals set out in the country’s NSP.

Author's affiliations

Jillian Gardner, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics

Full Text



HIV/AIDS, home testing, ethics,

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2012;5(1):15-19.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-12-26
Date published: 2012-06-14

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