Background In Kyrgyz Republic HIV mainly spreads among the high risk behaviour population groups (mainly injection drug users - IDUs). Approximately 450,000 people are being tested for HIV in Kyrgyzstan per annum and less than 1% of them are IDUs, when testing of IDUs results in more than 60% of all new infections. Thus, access to testing remains the main challenge and priority for the national response to HIV.
Methods The UNDP in Kyrgyzstan, jointly with the Republican AIDS centre have started a roll out of HIV rapid testing based on oral fluid. For this pilot, there’ve been assessed and selected 12 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who work with IDUs, sex workers and men who have sex with men. A pool of non-medical testing counsellors was certified after trainings on rapid testing, based on CDC/WHO training modules. OraQuick Advanced HIV 1–2 rapid test was selected for the roll out of the pilot.
Results Within the first three months of the pilot, 1,335 clients of the mentioned above NGOs, were tested for HIV by using oral fluid rapid tests. Some 6% of tested, had preliminary positive results of rapid test and were referred to nearest AIDS centres for further HIV confirmatory tests (ELIZA, Western Blot). There were only 2 cases of false positive results of rapid tests, which is less than 0.15% of all rapid tests results.
Conclusions Kyrgyz Republic is the first country in the Central Asian region, who introduced this new type of HIV rapid testing at community based organisations. First few months of the pilot have shown that non-medical professionals can provide this type of services to their clients, after the proper training. Now, people from the high risk behaviour population groups, especially those that had never been tested for HIV, are being tested at NGOs with rapid tests.