rapid hiv test

Rapid HIV testing approved in Australia

Fantastic news today in Australia with the Federal Health Minister announcing that rapid  HIV testing will become available in Australia.

A REVOLUTIONARY on-the-spot HIV screening will produce a result about a person’s status within half an hour.

A new rapid HIV testing kit will increase the number of people being tested for the disease and reduce the risk of transmission, Federal Health Minister of Australia Tanya Plibersek says.

Ms Plibersek this afternoon announced the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had approved for marketing the Alere Determine Combo HIV 1/2 Ag/Ab test, which will give people a preliminary result within 30 minutes.

Ms Plibersek said the pin prick test would mean people newly infected with HIV can quickly access treatment, while the risk of infecting others would also be decreased.

“This test doesn’t replace the importance of safe sex practices and other harm reduction strategies in Australia,” Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney.

With health professionals being enabled to rapid HIV testing this greatly reduces test result anxiety significantly with the usual seven day wait reduced to just 30 minutes.

Unlike the saliva based rapid HIV testing this pin prick test is very accurate and the risk of a false negative result is extremely low. All positive tests will need to be confirmed with a formal blood test.

Currently it is quoted that within Australia up to one third of people who are HIV positive are not aware of their status as they have not been tested. This development will enable more people to get tested helping increase access to treatments and reducing the risk of sharing HIV with sexual partners.

It is hoped that family doctors with correct training will also be able to offer the tests.

Yours in good health.

Dr George

Photo courtesy of Alere

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