News @ JSI

JSI Presents at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science

July 21, 2017

After completing a groundbreaking study on HIV self-testing for female sex workers in Zambia, representatives from the JSI-implemented Zambia Peer Educators for HIV Self-Testing (ZEST) Project will present findings at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris on July 23–26, 2017.

Female sex workers (FSWs) carry a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic. Discrimination and stigma, both internal and external, often prevent them from going to a clinic or connecting with a health care provider to be tested for HIV.

In order to evaluate innovative solutions to this problem, JSI, in partnership with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health began 16-week research initiative in early 2016, using a cluster-randomized impact trial evaluating HIV self-testing (HIVST) as an alternative method of alerting FSWs to their HIV status and, when appropriate, linking them to treatment.

“This is groundbreaking work in that the barriers which have been preventing FSWs from testing for HIV regularly, including real and perceived stigma from some counselors in clinics toward FSWs, fear of a blood-based test, distance, and opportunity costs that come with the precious time of FSWs, have all been overcome in this one breakthrough,” said Dr. Michael Chanda, an investigator on the ZEST study and deputy project director of the JSI-implemented USAID DISCOVER-Health Project.

Funded by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, and implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, the study is designed to help the Government of Zambia fulfill its obligation to UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 strategy by ensuring that 90% of those living with HIV know their status by 2020.

The results of this study, which have been published in AIDS Patient Care and STDs and BMJ Open, will be used by the Ministry of Health, public health implementers, civil society organizations, and medical professionals to evaluate the efficacy of HIVST and links to care for FSWs. This will eventually inform government policy on self-testing for the general population.

Dr. Chanda and Dr. Catherine Oldenburg, University of California, San Francisco will give three presentations on results from the ZEST project, in addition to participating in a press conference.

Presentation Schedule:

Date: Monday, July 24, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM–12:30 PM
Place: Bordeaux Amphitheater
Session: Just Do It Yourself: Preferences and Performances of HIV Self-testing
Presentation Title: HIV self-testing among female sex workers in Zambia: A randomized controlled trial

Date: Monday, July 24, 2017
Time: 12:30 PM–2:30 PM
Place: Poster area
Presentation Title: Intimate partner violence, sex work-related stigma, and risk of HIV acquisition among female sex workers in Zambia

Date: Monday, July 24, 2017
Time: 12:30 PM–2:30 PM
Place: Poster area
Presentation Title: Incarceration history and HIV testing among female sex workers in Zambia

Press Conference:

Date and Time: Tuesday, 25 July, 10 AM
Participants: Dr. Michael Chanda, JSI and Dr. Catherine Oldenburg, University of California, San Francisco

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