Here at the MRC CTU we're helping to end HIV, by undertaking work looking at ways to help end HIV transmission.
The first step towards treating HIV is diagnosing it, which is typically done by taking a blood sample. Currently most HIV tests are conducted in sexual health clinics.
Our highlighted study is the SELPHI study, looking at whether the offer of free HIV self-tests could decrease the time between infection and diagnosis of HIV in men, trans men, and trans women who have sex with men.
We think some people may be more likely to test for HIV using a self-testing kit because it is more private, quicker and more convenient than visiting a clinic.
How could the SELPHI study potentially reduce HIV transmission?
Decreasing the time between infection and diagnosis means that people who need treatment start receiving it sooner. If people receive the treatment they need, it should bring the amount of HIV in their blood (the viral load) down to a level where it is undetectable. If HIV is undetectable in the blood, there is almost no chance that the infected person can pass on the virus to someone else.
We have produced an infographic about SELPHI, what it hopes to achieve and how recruitment is going so far.