Global Health & Medicine 2021;3(6):356-357.

HIV testing in COVID-19 pandemic and beyond in Japan

Oka S


In Japan, HIV testing has been offered anonymously and free-of-charge at local public health centers, together with pre- and post-test counseling since 1993. Since then, the number of HIV tests increased steadily to reach a peak in 2008 but has since decreased by 30% during the last decade. The number of tests further decreased in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and steeply by 50% this year compared with the previous year, mostly due to a shift in the workload at these centers to COVID-19-related services. To deal with this decline and thinking beyond the current pandemic, more options for HIV testing are needed, such as self-testing/postal delivery of dried blood spot specimen, a method that is yet to be approved in Japan, in addition to the conventional plasma/serum-based HIV testing.

KEYWORDS: HIV testing, COVID-19 pandemic, self-testing, dried blood spot, postal service

DOI: 10.35772/ghm.2021.01103

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