Thursday 16 March
On 16 March 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO), Unitaid, FIND and the STAR Initiative will host a webinar, Hepatitis C Self-Testing: Updates on the Country Pilot, WHO Guidance and Products.
In 2021, WHO estimated that 58 million people were living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), of which 26% knew their status and approximately one-quarter of those diagnosed received treatment. We are far from achieving the 2030 coverage targets of 90% diagnosis and 80% treatment for those infected. Despite recent advances in highly effective and affordable HCV treatment, many people are unaware of their status due to limited access to and low uptake of testing services and low awareness to drive demand for HCV testing in general.
Self-testing is a vital tool to help people know their infectious disease status, offering individuals an alternative pathway to accessing treatment and effective prevention interventions. HIV self-testing (HIVST) has been successfully implemented in various settings and has proven effective in reaching populations who would not otherwise test for HIV. Building off the normative guidance and lessons learned from HIVST, several studies have explored the acceptability, usability, and feasibility of HCV self-testing (HCVST) in various priority settings and populations. These studies informed the development of formal WHO guidance, launched in 2021.
Since then, researchers and implementers have continued to generate new evidence, notably to assess the effectiveness, feasibility, and uptake of HCVST through various distribution models. In 2022, Unitaid expanded its catalytic investment in self-testing through the STAR Initiative to include implementation research and market development work on hepatitis C self-testing in five countries across Asia and Africa.
A 90-minute webinar will provide updates on HCVST for participants to learn about the most recent research results, the WHO perspective, and product market updates.
The session will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation offered in French.