A collaborative project led by Emory University has received $8.3 million for the first of a five-year CDC award to implement Together TakeMeHome (TTMH), a national HIV self-testing program designed to increase awareness and diagnosis of HIV infections in the United States
HIV testing is a proven strategy for HIV prevention and a key first step in the continuum of care, yet too many people are unaware of their HIV status. TTMH addresses common barriers to testing, such as stigma, privacy issues, cost, and lack of access to HIV clinics by offering free HIV self-tests by mail.
“Testing is a critical entry point for HIV prevention and treatment services, especially for those most affected by HIV,” says Dr. Travis Sanchez, a professor at the Rollins School of Public Health in Washington. Emory University and Program Executive Director. “Together, TakeMeHome is building on proven HIV prevention strategies by getting people tested right at their doorstep and giving people who otherwise might not have been tested the opportunity to learn their status. “
In early 2023, TTMH will begin distributing free HIV self-testing to people who register through its website. Orders will be processed through Amazon and mailed in discreet packages to all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Emory University will evaluate the program by assessing who used the tests, how many new diagnoses were made, and how many started HIV treatment or pre-exposure prophylaxis. The program will be monitored and evaluated using data from multiple sources, including order information, web traffic/referral tracking, surveys and qualitative interviews.
“HIV self-testing is a key innovation that supports the national goal of diagnosing all people living with HIV as early as possible,” said Robyn Neblett Fanfair, MD, MPH and acting director of the Division of Prevention. of HIV from the CDC. “Evidence demonstrates high demand for HIV self-testing, particularly among people who have never been tested for HIV and populations that are not equitably reached with HIV testing, effective treatment and prevention tools.
Following a success pilot program in 2020-21, it will be the largest national HIV self-testing program by mail to date. Several studies demonstrated the value of self-testing in increasing the frequency of HIV testing, identifying new diagnoses, and reaching people who reported never having been tested for HIV before. Expanding the TTMH to one million tests can have a resounding impact on HIV prevention efforts in the United States, but its success will depend heavily on collaborative efforts.
Several organizations will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of the program. Create healthy online communitieswho created the program, will lead the outreach and engagement of participants. Signal group will manage the technical aspects of TTMH, including website and back-end development. NASTAD lead public health and community engagement activities. As the only manufacturer of FDA-approved HIV self-tests, OraSure Technologies will be responsible for the production and logistics of HIV self-test kits, and CDC let’s stop HIVTogether the campaign team will lead marketing activities.
TTMH will be supported by CDC under award number 1NU62PS924790. The total amount of the scholarship over 5 years can reach 41.5 million dollars.