HIV testing among key populations (A–D)

Export Indicator

Percentage of people of a key population who tested for HIV in the past 12 months, or who know their current HIV status
What it measures

This indicator is divided into four subindicators:

A. HIV testing among sex workers.

B. HIV testing among men who have sex with men.

C. HIV testing among people who inject drugs.

D. HIV testing among transgender people.

What it measures

Progress providing HIV testing services to members of key populations.


Ensuring that people living with HIV receive the care and treatment required to live healthy, productive lives and reducing the chance of transmitting HIV require that they know their HIV status. In many countries, targeting testing and counselling at locations and populations with the highest HIV burden is the most efficient way to reach people living with HIV and ensure that they know their HIV status. This indicator captures the effectiveness of HIV testing interventions targeting populations at higher risk of HIV infection.


Respondent knows they are living with HIV (answer to Question 3 is “positive”)

Respondent reports having tested for HIV in last 12 months and result was negative (answer to Question 2 is “a” or “b”; answer to Question 3 is “negative”).


The number of respondents in the yellow boxes are the numerator.

If still using the old indicator—HIV test in last 12 months—please note this in the comment field.




Number of people in key populations who answered question Question 1 (below).



Method of measurement
Behavioural surveillance or other special surveys
Respondents are asked the following questions:
1. Do you know your HIV status from an HIV test?
a. No, I have never been tested
b. Yes, I have been tested
2. If yes, when were you last tested?
a. In the last 6 months
b. In the last 6–12 months
c. More than 12 months ago
3. Was the result of your last test:
a. Positive
b. Negative
c. Indeterminate


Measurement frequency



A, C and D: Gender (female, male and transgender).

A-D: Age (<25 and 25+ years).

A-D: Cities and other administrative areas of importance.

Additional information requested

If there are subnational data available, please provide the disaggregation by administrative area, city, or site in the space provided. Submit the digital version of any available survey reports using the upload tool.

Strengths and weaknesses

HIV testing and counselling is the necessary first step to addressing a person’s HIV infection. People living with HIV must be aware of their HIV status and take the subsequent steps towards prevention and treatment services to prevent transmission of the virus. National programmes aim to have 90% of people who are living with HIV know their HIV status. The revision of this indicator strengthens its meaning, providing a more valid measure of progress in assuring that people affected by the HIV epidemic are taking up testing. By using a 12-month reference period, the previous testing indicator failed to capture people known to be living with HIV for a long time. This new formulation corrects that.

The new formulation of this question may not be fully implemented in many surveys yet, leading to reduced reporting in the near term. Respondents may be unwilling to accurately answer questions about their HIV status, leading to under-reporting of testing coverage among people living with HIV.

Further information

Global HIV Strategic Information Working Group. Biobehavioural survey guidelines for populations at risk for HIV. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017 (

Related Indicators

TL.6 Know their status (key population), 2020, WHO Consolidated HIV strategic information guidelines: driving impact through programme monitoring and management (