HIV testing at home

A new HIV test that doesn’t require a trip to the doctor is now available.

The Dried Blood Spot test is free, confidential and people can do it in the privacy of their own homes says Dr Eva Jackson, Clinical Director for the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Sexual Health and HIV Clinics.

“All it takes is five small drops of blood from a finger prick on a test card that is mailed to a laboratory for analysis. It’s a very reliable test that makes testing easy and convenient,” says Dr Jackson.

“Results are provided via phone or text without people needing to attend a clinic. However, if a test suggests HIV may be present, a nurse will make contact to provide support and help to organise the next steps to confirm the results.”

The test kits are ordered online and are sent free of charge in discreet packaging.

HIV notification rates in NSW have remained relatively stable over the past six years with an average of 349 new cases diagnosed each year.

In an effort to improve outcomes, Dried Blood Spot testing is being piloted as an additional strategy to minimise the time from HIV infection to diagnosis.

“We know people with HIV who are diagnosed late are more likely to be heterosexual or from culturally and linguistically diverse communities,” says Dr Jackson.

“The new free, confidential and easy-to-use Dried Blood Spot test may help more people get tested early and often.”

Early diagnosis and treatment provide the best health outcomes for individuals, and eliminate the likelihood of passing the infection to others.

Early diagnosis, and the emergence of new and effective treatments over the past decade have meant that people with HIV can now live full and long lives. However, despite this good news in NSW, 36 percent of HIV diagnoses still occur at a late stage of the disease.

“To reach our goal of virtually eliminating HIV transmission by 2020 we need very high levels of testing among all people at risk of HIV. We hope the convenience of the Dried Blood Spot testing service will help us achieve this goal.”

Testing kits can be ordered via: www.hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au

For more information contact the Blue Mountains and Nepean Sexual Health Clinic or call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink 1800 451 624.

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