Georgia Initiative Launches 1 Million Free Home HIV Self-Tests in US – WABE

Testing is critical to HIV prevention, early detection and treatment. However, research shows that barriers to testing remain, particularly for some of the populations most at risk of infection.

Now, a new initiative from Emory University and the CDC aims to make HIV testing easier to access. The Together TakeMeHome project is making free HIV self-test kits available in the mail nationwide.

Once ordered online, kits are shipped in discreet packaging and contain FDA-approved devices and oral swabs. The results will appear in 20 minutes.

“By providing people with an easy way to learn their HIV status, Together TakeMeHome can help people, particularly those disproportionately affected by HIV, take that first important step in HIV prevention and treatment,” said Program director Travis Sanchez, Rollins University professor at the Emory University School of Public Health.

Research shows that self-testing is effective in raising HIV awareness, increasing testing frequency, detecting new diagnoses and preventing transmission.

A recent pilot that distributed 100,000 free HIV self-tests over eight months successfully reached people at high risk, including 26% who said they had never been tested for HIV, according to the CDC. Together, TakeMeHome is expanding its efforts with the goal of distributing up to 1 million HIV self-tests over the next five years.

The organizers are initially targeting groups that are disproportionately affected by HIV. This includes gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, particularly Black and Hispanic gay and bisexual men, Black women, and transgender women.

The Department of Health reports that HIV cases in Georgia are increasingly concentrated in men who have sex with men. Black men have the highest HIV rates, followed by Latino men.

The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once. It is recommended that people in higher risk groups test more frequently.

Still, 80% of new HIV infections are contracted by people who don’t know they have the virus or aren’t receiving treatment, data show. And disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a drop in HIV testing across the country. The CDC reports that testing and treatment have since picked up again.

Together, TakeMeHome organizers say the free self-testing program also helps reduce the stigma of being infected with HIV.

Tests are available online for free at The site also contains information on HIV prevention and sexual health. For additional telephone information, call 1-866-436-6527.