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Phakama Digest July 2021

Dear colleagues,

The fifth edition of Health Systems Trust's Phakama Digest can be downloaded here.

The Digest profiles the work of the SA SURE Project through in-depth perspectives of implementation activities in the field, and this July 2021 edition focuses on the project's HIV recency testing programme.

Strategies to identify new HIV cases and rapid interventions to stop the chain of HIV transmission are vital for strengthening and accelerating epidemic control. An accurate picture of recent HIV infection trends informs targeted healthcare resource allocation and refined prevention programming for those at highest risk. Through a pilot study being conducted in uMgungundlovu and eThekwini Districts, pairs of SA SURE Lay Counsellors and Nurse Clinicians are conducting safe and ethical HIV recency testing as part of routine HIV Testing Services.


The content covers the following aspects of this topic:

  • HIV recency testing: what this surveillance entails, why it is important, and related ethical issues (page 2)
  • PEPFAR/CDC guidance for Implementing Partners on integrating HIV recency testing into existing health systems (page 3)
  • The SA SURE Project's roll-out of HIV recency testing implementation: training, planning, and process flow in a facility setting (page 4)
  • Voices from the ground – four implementers share their experiences (page 6)
  • A view from CDC South Africa – insights on the value of HIV recency testing for epidemic control (page 8)

With best wishes for health and protection,

The Editorial Team