Abstract: Summary Background Monitoring knowledge of HIV status among people living with HIV is essential for an effective national HIV response. This study estimates progress and gaps in reaching the UNAIDS 2020 target of 90% knowledge of status, and the efficiency of HIV testing services in sub-Saharan Africa, where two thirds of all people living with HIV reside. Methods For this modelling study, we used data from 183 population-based surveys (including more than 2·7 million participants) and national HIV testing programme reports (315 country-years) from 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa as inputs into a mathematical model to examine trends in knowledge of status among people living with HIV, median time from HIV infection to diagnosis, HIV testing positivity, and proportion of new diagnoses among all positive tests, adjusting for retesting. We included data from 2000 to 2019, and projected results to 2020. Findings Across sub-Saharan Africa, knowledge of status steadily increased from 5·7% (95% credible interval [CrI] 4·6–7·0) in 2000 to 84% (82–86) in 2020. 12 countries and one region, southern Africa, reached the 90% target. In 2020, knowledge of status was lower among men (79%, 95% CrI 76–81) than women (87%, 85–89) across sub-Saharan Africa. People living with HIV aged 15–24 years were the least likely to know their status (65%, 62–69), but the largest gap in terms of absolute numbers was among men aged 35–49 years, with 701 000 (95% CrI 611 000–788 000) remaining undiagnosed. As knowledge of status increased from 2000 to 2020, the median time to diagnosis decreased from 9·6 years (9·1–10) to 2·6 years (1·8–3·5), HIV testing positivity declined from 9·0% (7·7–10) to 2·8% (2·1–3·9), and the proportion of first-time diagnoses among all positive tests dropped from 89% (77–96) to 42% (30–55). Interpretation On the path towards the next UNAIDS target of 95% diagnostic coverage by 2025, and in a context of declining positivity and yield of first-time diagnoses, disparities in knowledge of status must be addressed. Increasing knowledge of status and treatment coverage among older men could be crucial to reducing HIV incidence among women in sub-Saharan Africa, and by extension, reducing mother-to-child transmission. Funding Steinberg Fund for Interdisciplinary Global Health Research (McGill University); Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Fonds the recherche du Quebec—Sante; UNAIDS; UK Medical Research Council; MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis; UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
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