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‘HIV Self-Testing Program’ receives wide usage: Taiwan CDC

The program was put in place to make HIV testing convenient and private

(photo courtesy of Taiwan CDC)

(photo courtesy of Taiwan CDC)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The "HIV Self-Testing Program" initiated by Taiwan CDC has served 7,771 people since December 2018, the center said in a news release in February.

According to the release, 4,950 test kits were provided via online ordering, while 1,559 were provided through vending machines. The amount of test kits offered via the above two channels increased by 44% and 39%, compared to the program last year, Taiwan CDC said. Moreover, though the blood-test kit was provided for the first time in this program, it has already been acquired by 1,262 people, the center added.

The HIV Self-Testing Program was put in place to make HIV testing convenient and private, the center said.

Oral fluid self-test kits can be ordered online and delivered to a Family Mart, OK, or Hi-Life convenience store for pickup, at a price of NT$245 (NT$200 for the testing kit, NT$45 for delivery fee), Taiwan CDC said.

“The public can also get either the NT$200 blood-test kit or the NT$200 oral fluid self-test kit from 401 sites set up by health bureaus and NGOs, or from 26 vending machines nationwide,” the center said.

Noting that early diagnosis and early treatment are the keys to controlling HIV infection, Taiwan CDC encouraged people who have had sex to get tested for HIV at least once to understand their health status.

According to Taiwan CDC’s data, the number of new HIV infections in 2018 was 1,993, which was the lowest since 2012, and a 21% decrease year-on-year. In 2018, the main cause of HIV infection was “unprotected sex,” the center said.

“People should receive HIV testing proactively and start treatment if being diagnosed with HIV,” Taiwan CDC said. “This can help reduce a person's viral load, which is beneficial to the patient and can prevent the virus from being passed on to other people.”

Taiwan CDC advised those who have sex without condoms to get tested at least once a year. Higher-risk groups (e.g., those who: share needles to inject drugs, have multiple sexual partners, engage in chemsex, or are infected with sexually transmitted diseases) should test for HIV every 3-6 months, the center said.

For more information about HIV/AIDS, please visit the Taiwan CDC website or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).