According to Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) it’s estimated that 28,180 people were living with HIV and 2,690 people were unaware they were HIV positive at the end of 2018. To support detection rates HIV self-testing kits in Australia have now been introduced.
These kits are now available to purchase by anyone online in Australia. This form of testing requires the person to collect their own specimen (oral fluid or blood) and within 15 minutes the results are determined. It is a simple and quick process that complements the HIV testing available at GP and sexual health clinics. It’s highly recommended to have a follow up standard HIV blood test done at a GP clinic or sexual health clinic to confirm the result.
For some people being able to purchase and test from the comfort of their own home is advantageous. Some people may feel the need to their own privacy and not want to discuss their circumstances to another individual.
An alternative to self-testing is Rapido – Rapid HIV Testing, offered by SHINE SA in partnership with SAMESH. A finger prick blood sample is taken and placed onto the test strip which then develops for 20 minutes revealing a result. Rapido – Rapid HIV Testing offers a free and less confronting testing experience particularly for gay men, men who have sex with men (MSM), trans and gender diverse people. It is administrated by peer testers, who identify as gay or bisexual men. They have all been extensively trained to perform these tests. There is also the option to see a nurse who can provide a full sexually transmitted infection and blood-borne virus screening.
To learn more about these kits a new fact sheet Self-testing for HIV has been produced by Relationships Australia South Australia (RASA)/PEACE Multicultural Service and SAMESH.