Costs and costs-at-scale of provision of HIV self-testing kits by civil society organisations to key populations and their sexual partners in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal and Mali


BACKGROUND: Despite significant progress on the proportion of individuals who know their HIV status in 2020, Côte d'Ivoire (76%), Senegal (78%), and Mali (48%) remain far below the 90-90-90 targets. Key populations including female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who use drugs (PWUD) are the most vulnerable groups with HIV prevalence at 5%-30%. HIV self-testing (HIVST) was introduced in West Africa in 2019 as a new testing modality through the ATLAS project coordinated by the international partner organisation Solthis (IPO).
METHODS: We estimated the costs of implementing HIVST through twenty-three civil society organisations (CSO)-led models in Côte d'Ivoire (N=7), Senegal (N=11), and Mali (N=5). We modelled costs for programme transition (2021) and early scale-up (2022-2023).
RESULTS: Between July-2019 and September-2020, a total of 51,028, 14,472 and 34,353 HIVST kits were distributed in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, and Mali, respectively. Across countries, 64%-80% of HIVST kits were distributed to FSW, 20%-31% to MSM, and 5%-8% to PWUD. Cost per HIVST kit distributed ranged from $12-$15 (FSW), $14-$27 (MSM), to $15-$143 (PWUD), driven by personnel costs at various intervention levels (53%-78% of total costs), and HIVST kit costs (2%-15%). Predicted costs at scale-up ranged from $5-$13 (FSW), $5-$24 (MSM), to $13-$53 (PWUD), and were mainly explained by the spreading of IPO costs over higher HIVST distribution volumes (Figure 1).

CONCLUSIONS: In all countries, CSO-led HIVST kit provision to key populations showed relatively high costs related to the progressive integration of the programme to CSO activities and contextual challenges (e.g. country security issues). In the transition to scale-up and further integration of the HIVST programme into CSO activities, this model can become less costly. This is particularly relevant as it remains today the most promising strategy for reaching key populations and their sexual partners not accessing HIV testing.