Dear Colleague: March 21, 2023

Dear Colleagues: Information from CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

March 21, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the launch of Together TakeMeHome (TTMH), a project with the goal of distributing up to 1 million free HIV self-tests over the next five years. People in the United States, including Puerto Rico, can order up to two free HIV self-tests every 90 days via a new online portal. Tests are available to anyone 17 years or older, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. TTMH is supported by CDC, in partnership with Emory University, Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), NASTAD, Signal Group, and OraSure Technologies.

HIV testing is a critical HIV prevention strategy and a key first step in the continuum of HIV care, yet too many people are unaware of their HIV status. By offering free HIV self-tests through mail delivery, TTMH addresses common barriers to HIV testing, such as stigma, privacy concerns, cost, and lack of access to HIV clinics, giving people who otherwise might not have tested an opportunity to know their status. Priority audiences for the program and the Let’s Stop HIV Together (Together) campaign outreach include populations with disproportionately high HIV incidence, including gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, particularly Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, Black/African American cisgender women, and transgender women of all races and ethnicities. TTMH will be the largest HIV self-testing program in United States history and will bolster prevention and treatment efforts across the nation. Furthermore, TTMH will promote equity by expanding testing options for people facing social and structural barriers to accessing traditional testing venues.

This project is based on research that showed this type of HIV self-testing is effective and cost-saving. Multiple studies have demonstrated the value of self-testing for increasing the frequency of HIV testing, identifying new diagnoses, and reaching people who reported that they have never previously tested for HIV. The new TTMH program expands on a prior program where CDC, Emory, BHOC, and other partners distributed 100,000 free HIV self-tests in eight months. The outreach was conducted as part of CDC’s Together campaign and effectively reached priority populations, 26% of whom reported never having tested for HIV. As a result of this success, CDC expanded the model to work toward achieving the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative’s goal of reducing new infections by 90% by 2030.

We invite our colleagues in HIV care and advocacy, health care, and public health to join us in sharing and promoting TTMH to our priority populations. Scaling up TTMH to one million tests can have a resounding impact on HIV prevention efforts in the United States, but its success will rely heavily on our collaborative efforts. Join us in raising awareness about HIV self-testing by downloading and sharing resources from CDC’s Together campaign, the national campaign of both the EHE initiative and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Together is an evidence-based campaign created in English and Spanish that aims to empower communities, partners, and health care providers to reduce HIV stigma and promote HIV testingprevention, and treatment. You can also share social media content from CDC’s self-testing digital toolkit using the #HIVTestMyWay, #AutoPruebasDelVIH, and #StopHIVTogether hashtags. Together, we can work to address HIV disparities and enhance HIV testing efforts among people most affected by HIV.

/Robyn Fanfair/

Robyn Neblett Fanfair, MD, MPH
Captain, USPHS
Acting Division Director
Division of HIV Prevention
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/Jonathan Mermin/

Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Stay connected: @DrMerminCDC & Connections