Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 18, Supplement 4, pp 433-437

First online:

The Ethical, Legal and Human Rights Concerns Raised by Licensing HIV Self-Testing for Private Use

  • Lucy AllaisAffiliated withUniversity of the Witwatersrand and Sussex University Email author 
  • , Francois VenterAffiliated withWits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of the Witwatersrand


We argue that there are no compelling ethical grounds for not allowing the sale of HIV self-tests to the public, so long as reasonably robust protections are in place to protect against coerced testing, and so long as the ease of use of the test is validated carefully in each country in which it is used, with attention to information about linkage to treatment, social and psychological support. The tests are not likely to be harmful in a way that justifies restricting people’s access to them, and have plausible benefits. Whether and how self-testing should be used in public health programs will depend on complex policy questions concerning priorities, efficacy and cost.


Ethics Human rights Coercion HIV self testing